The National Party has announced its plan to tackle methamphetamine demand and supply.
On a visit to Hawke’s Bay today, leader Judith Collins announced the party’s plan which will tackle supplies coming into prisons, target organised crime networks, increase drug dogs at airports and establish a $50 million contestable fund for reduction programmes.
“National’s plan tackles the harm of methamphetamine use, restoring hope to people trapped in cycles of drug dependence and challenging those who peddle misery in our communities,” Collins said.
“The use of this drug tears families apart, fuels violence, enriches criminals and destroys lives. We cannot tolerate the continued misery this drug causes, which leads to rising levels of violence and poverty, and widespread social harm.”
National plan to tackle demand will:
• Deploy the Matrix Methamphetamine Treatment Pilot Programme across five District Health Boards in 11 locations to provide direct support to those recovering from methamphetamine use.
• Add 13 detox beds for methamphetamine across New Zealand, ensuring every district health board has at least one.
• Ensure at least one full-time equivalent specialist per DHB is available to assist with in-patient detoxing from methamphetamine.
• Establish a contestable fund of $50 million to pilot new or scaled-up whole-community harm reduction programmes.
• Establish best practices for frontline police to refer meth users to DHBs, Ministry of Social Development, education resources and community-based support.
Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti said National will reduce demand by improving the health response and providing new treatment options.
Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges said there must also be a strong response from law and order agencies to disrupt meth entering the country.
We will build capacity to interdict the international crime cartels that are bringing this problem to our shores. Good intelligence and international co-operation will be a priority under National.
“There can be no tolerance for the dealing and supply of methamphetamine. Those who peddle this drug are responsible for the misery and social harm it causes.”
National’s plan to tackle supply will:
• Increase funding for drug intelligence to enable Customs, police and health authorities to identify drugs coming into the country.
• Increase funding for police and health to identify new drugs and bad batches sooner.
• Introduce more drug dogs at airports and ports.
• Identify a new supply disruption strategy to reduce methamphetamine use in Corrections facilities.
• Target domestic organised crime networks with extra focus and resourcing from police.
Methamphetamine is the most commonly detected illicit drug nationwide. Social agencies identify it as a significant factor in domestic and family violence.
“There is no single solution to what has become a scourge on our society,” Collins said.
“A National government will tackle this problem from all angles, addressing both demand and supply.”
National said it has a “strong track record” fighting meth with the Methamphetamine Action Plan in introduced prompting an increase in seizures of the drug and a 59 per cent reduction in use as a proportion of the population, between 2009 and 2015.
“Labour rescinded National’s refreshed Action Plan in 2018 in favour of an ad-hoc, piecemeal approach to drug harm,” Bridges said.
“We will re-establish the social investment approach across the justice system, making sure the impacts of crime are addressed, as well as the causes of it.”