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NZ Third In Contest We Don't Want To Win

NZ Third In Contest We Don't Want To Win

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today demanded that Labour drop its soft-on-crime mentality and start doing, instead of talking, in the wake of a UN report finding that New Zealand has one of the world's highest rates of amphetamine-type drug abuse.

"It is no surprise that Australia and New Zealand are reported as second only to Thailand in methamphetamine abuse - given the Government's refusal to address any crime problem," Mr Franks said.

"Recent police statistics show a rise in drug-related crime - aside from cannabis - of 62.7 percent. Police have warned they cannot cope with the rising tide of methamphetamine use. ESR has a huge backlog of clan labs awaiting testing.

"Yet, in the face of this damning evidence, Labour drags its feet. Police are still under-resourced and under-staffed - requesting 169 extra sworn officers in the last Budget, and receiving only 50 - and police methamphetamine response teams are not to start until 2004.

"It is not surprising that new ways of escaping reality spread fastest in New Zealand - our entire criminal justice establishment hates reality. It doesn't believe in punishment. It would rather fund cultural safety programmes than keep people safe by cracking down on crime and locking up criminals.

It doesn't want law that is enforced, or law that means what it says. It doesn't believe there should be a price for crime that is higher than the rewards. The rise in drug offending is just part of a general problem - crime is out of control.

"I am calling on Police Minister George Hawkins to do his job for a change - the meth response teams must be fast-tracked, and police funding must be addressed as an urgent priority. If the Government does not drop its apathetic soft-on-drugs approach, we may soon see New Zealand top the list of world drug abuse," Mr Franks said.

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