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Drug flood threat lurks in Chinese trade deal

2 October 2008

Drug flood threat lurks in Chinese trade deal: Greens

New Zealand's burgeoning methamphetamine problem could worsen as more precursor ingredients enter the country because of our preferential trade deal with China, says the Green Party.

Green MP Metiria Turei says the trade agreement - that came into force yesterday - means a greater volume of Chinese imports and fast tracking of goods at the border. She fears more drug consignments would inevitably filter through our increasingly porous borders.

"Experts estimate 99 percent of the precursor ingredients for methamphetamine are illegally imported from China. This controversial trade deal with our main drug importer brings grave risks that New Zealand's meth problem can only get worse.

"Contac NT capsules, that can be bought over the counter in China, are the main ingredient for methamphetamine manufacturing here in New Zealand. An influx of such precursor drugs would only spell trouble. Communities all over New Zealand already have enough problems with meth use."

Increased volumes of Chinese imports plus fast tracking provisions of goods at the New Zealand border that are part of the trade agreement (requiring most goods to be released within 48 hours of arrival at our border) means a rise in drug concealments is highly likely, Mrs Turei says.

"About one million containers enter and leave New Zealand each year and customs officers can't inspect every one. Methamphetamine abuse is a serious issue for communities throughout New Zealand and I fear we are opening the floodgates for yet more drug imports. The highest priority is stopping importation and providing health and social support for users of the drug.

"Customs officers freely admit they don't catch all drug imports and I have grave fears that our trade deal with China may end up being a good deal for drug dealers."

ENDS

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