National’s gang and drugs policy

Yesterday Paula Bennett, the Minister of Police, announced new policy to ‘crack down on gangs and drugs’. It was controversial in particular because it threatened to reduce the human rights of people deemed to be ‘criminal’.

Here is National’s full announcement.

New crack down on gangs and drugs

National will redouble its efforts to stop drugs getting into the country, stamp out meth labs and disrupt the supply networks as part of a refreshed Methamphetamine Action Plan.

A re-elected National Government will invest $82 million over four years to tackle methamphetamine with a range of tough measures to clamp down hard on organised crime and drug dealers, Police spokesperson Paula Bennett says.

It will also fund more treatment places for those addicted to methamphetamine and other drugs.

“Gangs are increasingly pushing dangerous drugs into our communities and we are committed to stopping them, locking them up and seizing their ill-gotten gains,” Mrs Bennett says.

“National will redouble its efforts to stop drugs getting into the country, stamp out meth labs and disrupt the supply networks as part of a refreshed Methamphetamine Action Plan.

“We’ll also increase Police powers to stop gang members from committing crimes in the first place, backing up our investment in more Police officers and smarter policing and our tougher sentencing of offenders.”

A new National Government will spend $40 million over four years on drug treatment and education services including:

  • 1500 additional in patient drug treatment places
  • Community based treatment, prevention and education services provided by NGOs and Iwi

National will also invest $42 million over four years on a crackdown on gangs and the supply of serious drugs by:

  • Giving Police new power to search the cars and houses of the most serious criminal gang members at any time to ensure they don’t have firearms through new Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs)
  • Doubling the number of drug dog teams and introducing them in domestic airports, ferries and mail centres to clamp down on trafficking
  • Increasing penalties for manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabis from a maximum of two years imprisonment to eight years, but no changes to charges for possession
  • Imposing new obligations on gang members on a benefit so that if they can’t justify expensive assets, they can have their benefit cancelled or be declined a benefit
  • Introducing a new charge of ‘wilful contamination’ for people who contaminate rental properties
  • Introducing compulsory police vetting for anyone working at ports, mail centres or airport baggage centres (this includes contractors)

“These measures come on top of the $503 million announced earlier this year for 1125 more Police Staff, which included 80 police to target organised crime and drugs.

“Serious drugs like methamphetamine and the gangs who peddle them are a scourge on our society,” Mrs Bennett says.

“These drug dealers are destroying lives for profit and greed and these drugs have no place in our country.

“We need to help those that are already addicted and find ways of stopping new victims of this drug and the gangs who peddle them.

“Our investment in strengthening our borders will also help reduce harm because we know the most effective way to tackle this problem is to stop drugs reaching our shores in the first place.

“National is the party of law and order – we take the safety of all New Zealanders seriously. Police’s mission is for New Zealand to be the safest country in the world, and National wholeheartedly supports this goal,” Mrs Bennett says.

The $82 million over four years will be made up of $40 million from the proceeds of crime and $42 million of new funding.

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  1. robertguyton

     /  4th September 2017

    John Key boldly declared war on “P” long ago – what happened???

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  4th September 2017

      The price went down, apparently.

    • By using slang names like ‘P’ & ‘marijuana’ just shows where their heads are at.. misinformation & demonisation rather than TRUTH/reality.. yes drugs can be harmful (but health care is the better option, not arrest & prosecute), the DRUG WAR is a failure & its time to cut the CRAP our & get with the program.. its 2017 not 1975 ! time to move forward, not back 😦

      • oops typo; s/be.. ‘cut the CRAP out..’

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  4th September 2017

          Isn’t prevention better than curing the people who use these drugs ? It’s like vaccination being better than having to teach someone who’s gone blind from measles to use Braille.

          I don’t see why you object to calling drugs by these well-known names.. We all know what they are.

  2. phantom snowflake

     /  4th September 2017

    Yep, historically National have continued to wage Richard Nixon’s failed 1970s “War On Drugs.” There are no winners in war, only casualties on both sides and huge amounts of money wasted. With regard to methamphetamine; National have focused largely on the supply-side of the equation as in targeting importation, manufacture and supply. Sure, the announcement of $40 million over four years for drug treatment is a positive, but given the extent of the problem it’s a bit of a token gesture. I think it’s time for a bold move, addressing both supply and demand. I suggest:
    (a) Legalizing possession of methamphetamine (and other drugs) while maintaining laws against importation and manufacture. This should cause a big drop in price and thus the exit of a number of big players in the industry as the rewards become greater than the risks. Hence supply is decreased.
    (b) Investing hugely in detoxification and drug treatment centres, particularly in areas such as Bay Of Plenty and Northland where the P problem is at its worst. I don’t have the figures, but what is currently spent by police and the criminal justice system in the War On Drugs would make a good start. Detoxification/treatment should be made much more accessible, with multiple agencies and GPs being able to refer and arrange this. Perhaps even self-referrals. This increased accessibility would lead to less usage of P, i.e. less demand.

    The above ideas are certainly not new, but I think instituting them simultaneously is worth a shot. Any thoughts?

    • Bill

       /  5th September 2017

      Yep, all for the legalisation of Cannabis, Meth is a different animal and rather than see it legalised, I see a benefit of using the Methadone type of approach.

      The Methadone program helped break the cycle of addicts being dependent on their dealers and all that comes from that, namely crimes like burglary and violence to maintain their habits. When a Meth addict has asked for help the first thing we should do is treat it like any other Health and safety plan, ELIMINATE OR MINIMISE THE RISKS.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  5th September 2017

        I met a young woman who looked quite ordinary, like any other young Pakeha woman (as it happened) whom one sees everywhere-but she was a P addict and was now on methadone. The drug habit had cost her almost everything, including her children. I really wish her well, she was really wanting to be drug-free,

        The hard thing was her ‘friends” who would come around and talk about it.

        I don’t know how hard going drug-free is in comparison to being alcohol-free in one way, alt least., At least one isn’t seeing drugs everywhere-in supermarkets and restaurants-on advertisements-on t-shirts…whether that makes much difference is something that I don’t know,

      • phantom snowflake

         /  5th September 2017

        Methadone is very effective at managing withdrawal from Opiates. (e.g. Morphine, Heroin, Oxycodone, Fentanyl) However there is no equivalent to Methadone for managing Methamphetamine addiction because the nature of Opiate and Amphetamine addictions are vastly different. Opiate addiction has a strong physical component; severe physical symptoms appear quite soon when usage is stopped. Methamphetamine addiction is mostly psychological; many addicts are able to stop using for say, a few days at a time.

      • phantom snowflake

         /  5th September 2017

        Kitty: Methadone is not used to treat ‘P’ addiction. Maybe she had co-existing Methamphetamine and Opiate addictions.

  1. Geiringer on National’s gang ‘crack down’ policy | Your NZ
  2. Gilbert: National Party’s drug and gang policy is cynical and dangerous | Your NZ
  3. National’s gang and drugs policy — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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