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Govt ignoring plea to clear drug testing backlog


Tony Ryall National Law & Order Spokesman

28 April 2004

Govt ignoring cash plea to clear drug testing backlog

Alleged drug cooks may go free as the Government ignores a million-dollar plea to cut the drug testing waiting list, says National MP Tony Ryall.

Official papers released to the National Party under the Official Information Act show that ESR advised the Government earlier this year that a one-off injection of $900,000 would make 'a rapid impact on the backlog and manage current new cases'.

"Why is George Hawkins doing nothing? He should find this money now. It is a priority to put drug dealers and P manufacturers behind bars," says Mr Ryall.

"This money needs to be spent now. The sooner ESR gets the money, the sooner they get the staff. And the sooner the 170-case backlog can be cleared."

The methamphetamine problem continues to spiral out of control, with clandestine laboratories being uncovered at twice the rate of a year ago, according to figures released by Mr Hawkins to Mr Ryall. The figures show that in the three months to March 31, police had busted 52 drug labs, compared with 25 last year and 30 during the same period in 2002. Mr Ryall says the number of labs uncovered this year indicates that the figure for 2004 may well be well above predictions, and he is calling for more resources for police. "If we are to make a dent in this despicable trade it is imperative the police are given sufficient funds to fight it."

(MORE)

From: qwawf Sent: Tuesday, 27 April 2004 8:41 a.m. To: Cc: Tony Ryall; Tony Ryall Subject: 04871 (2004) Published - Police - Normal Reply

Question: What, if any, is the number of clandestine laboratories (methamphetamine) dismantled so far this year and in which Police districts were they, compared to the same time in each of the past two years?

Portfolio: Police Minister: Hon George Hawkins Date Lodged:08/04/2004 Answer Text: I am advised that, as at 31 March 2004, a total of 52 clandestine drug laboratories have been discovered by the Police in New Zealand in 2004. A total of 25 clandestine drug laboratories had been discovered as at 31 March 2003, and 30 as at 31 March 2002.

I am advised that releasing the provisional monthly number of clandestine drug laboratories uncovered by the police in each district could prejudice the maintenance of the law.

Please note: The vast majority of the clandestine drug laboratories uncovered by Police concerned the manufacture of methamphetamine. This data is provisional and drawn from a dynamic operational database. It is subject to change as new offences are continually recorded. Provisional data cannot reliably be compared to official crime statistics.

ENDS


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