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Labour Fails To Protect Public From Drug 'P'

Labour Fails To Protect Public From Drug 'P'

Friday 16 Jan 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today accused the Labour Government of failing to protect New Zealanders from the methamphetamine crisis, in the wake of today's Massey University report showing that the `P' epidemic is spiralling out of control.

"Police Minister George Hawkins has been warned numerous times about the escalating problem. According to a briefing paper prepared for the Minister on 23 May 2003 and obtained under the Official Information Act, he had already received at least five previous briefings from the Police Commissioner - July and September 2001, April and August 2002, and February 2003 - about the escalation and use of methamphetamines, including the increasing involvement of both domestic and international organised crime," Dr Newman said.

"The paper reports: `the current methamphetamine situation in this country is critical. The escalation of international and domestic organised crime involvement in the importation, manufacture and distribution of amphetamine type substances poses a serious threat to this country. The current situation is far more signicant and far reaching than the impact on New Zealand of the "Mr Asia" syndicate of the late 1970s and early 1980s.'

"Labour's soft-on-crime response to these warnings can only be described as pathetic; two methamphetamine response teams are to commence this month, eight months after being announced, and the under funded ESR does not have nearly enough scientists to keep up with the increase in forensic investigative demands.

"Alarmingly, the OIA warns: `It is anticipated that New Zealand will unfortunately follow the trend to Ice. "Ice" or "crystal" methamphetamine is a purified, extremely powerful form of methamphetamine that is generally 90-98 percent pure. The effects of ice are very similar to "crack" cocaine, with one significant exception; the effects of crack cocaine last for ten to twenty minutes. Ice is more prolonged at between eight and sixteen hours'.

"As the Massey report identifies, and this OIA confirms, the methamphetamine situation in New Zealand is now out of control. I repeat my call for an independent inquiry into the methamphetamine problem - I believe the Labour Government, by failing to properly allocate the resources needed to deal with this crisis, must be held accountable for its incompetence, " Dr Newman said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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