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Drug flood fears founded, vigilance urged: Greens

23 October 2008

Drug flood fears founded, vigilance urged: Greens

News today of a 100kg Chinese drug seizure in Auckland underscores the fears voiced by Green Party MP Metiria Turei earlier this month.

Mrs Turei is worried that her concern about New Zealand's burgeoning methamphetamine problem worsening as more precursor ingredients enter the country because of our preferential trade deal with China is becoming a reality.

"Customs officers inspecting furniture imported from China found a 100kg shipment of pseudoephedrine with a street value of $28 million in Auckland on Friday. This comes only weeks after an 80kg seizure. Thank heavens these precursor meth ingredients were seized, but it's chilling to think of the effects on our community if other consignments get through."

Mrs Turei says Customs staff did well in uncovering the shipment - the third-largest drug bust made in New Zealand - but she worries that more shipments could be on the way and is appealing for continued vigilance.

"This is exactly the situation I feared when the Chinese preferential trade agreement started this month. The greater volume of Chinese imports, plus fast-tracking of goods at the border means more drug shipments could get through.

"Experts estimate 99 percent of the precursor ingredients for methamphetamine are illegally imported from China. This controversial trade deal with our main drug importer holds dangers that New Zealand's meth problem may worsen, especially since customs officers admit they can't catch all drug imports.

"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 more such precursor drugs spells trouble for communities all over New Zealand who already have enough problems with meth use. It's vital we monitor this risky situation carefully."


ENDS

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