Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Criminals pay for new drug screening lab

Criminals pay for new drug screening lab


Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says the opening of the first drug screening laboratory at the border will dramatically speed up analysis of unknown substances, saving time and money for Customs.

The $250,000 lab was officially opened by Prime Minister John Key today at Customs’ Auckland Airport facility. It has been built and equipped from the first proceeds of crime funding allocation.

“This screening lab is a big boost to border capabilities, as faster analysis of unknown substances will ensure faster investigative action against illegal drug importers.

“It will also help improve intelligence and knowledge of psychoactive substances coming in to New Zealand, and allow quicker delivery of legitimate imports previously detained for further testing,” Ms Wagner says.

Samples were previously sent away to Environmental Science and Research, with results taking up to six weeks. Results can now be known in minutes.

“The lab is equipped with technology that can analyse hundreds of substances in hours and will be linked to ESR’s main database, increasing the range of substances that can be identified,” Ms Wagner says.

Customs expects to refer about 65 samples every week; although the lab, which will be staffed by ESR, can handle much larger volumes.

This equipment complements a portable drug screening device Customs also recently purchased through proceeds of crime funding.

“The government made a commitment in 2009 that money taken from those who profited from illicit drugs would be used to target the drug trade and help those affected by it to get treatment. Ill-gotten gains are now being used for good purposes,” Nicky Wagner says.

More than $10 million has been allocated since November to initiatives like the drug screening lab. Since the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act came into force in December 2009, the Police have obtained forfeiture orders for assets worth about $49 million (as at 31 July 2014), 55% of which are related to methamphetamine offences.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Christchurch Fires: Friday Morning Update

Slightly cooler weather conditions and higher humidity with some light rain having fallen early this morning is welcome relief for emergency services fighting the Port Hills fire in Christchurch..

It has been a quiet night with a few minor flare ups contained by fire crews. Thermal imaging is being used to identify hot spots. There is a lot of work to do to clean up the whole fire area and this will go on for several days.

Te Hapua Welfare Centre remains open with a small amount of people staying there. Nga Hau E Wha Marae and the Selwyn welfare centre have been closed. Police cordons are still in place and these areas are still considered dangerous. The situation is being constantly reassessed and we will provide further information as soon as it is available. More>>

 
 

Turnbull Visit: Leaders’ Talks Cement Trade Relations, Science Agreement

Mr English met with Prime Minister Turnbull in Queenstown today to discuss common approaches to bilateral and international issues, including trade and science and innovation. Mr English also thanked Mr Turnbull for Australia’s offer of support for those fighting the fires on the Port Hills in Christchurch. More>>

ALSO:

Youth Guarantee: Upskilling Fund Used For Retraining

News that one in five of the people enrolling in Youth Guarantee already hold qualifications at the level they’re enrolling in highlights the failure of the scheme to reach the disengaged young people it was set up to assist, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On What Trump May Mean For Us

So far not much effort has been put into tracing the possible implications for New Zealand of the stream of executive orders and tweets that have been pouring from the Oval Office. Unfortunately, we may not simply be drive-by rubberneckers at this car wreck for much longer. More>>

Pike River Select Committee: Solid Energy Chair Talks Resignation Over Re-Entry

Andy Coupe, chair of failed state-owned coal miner Solid Energy, said at a fiery select committee this morning that he would consider resigning if the government orders the company to re-enter the Pike River coal mine. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Candidacy Troubles

So its official. Greg O’Connor will indeed be Labour’s candidate in Ohariu and – as also signaled well in advance – the Greens will not be standing a candidate in the electorate. At this point, you have to question the validity of the Greens’ excuse – “we need to change the government” – for tagging along.... More>>

ALSO:

Post-Shooting Security: Guards Say WINZ Safety Protocols Unsafe

“The safety issue has moved from inside WINZ offices to outside where security guards are isolated in front of locked doors with nowhere to retreat if they need help,” says Len. More>>

ALSO:

PM’s Press Conference: Housing, Housing, Housing

Questions from the gallery focused on housing, asking about the Auckland Unitary Plan, the potential skills and resource shortage and whether NZ would seek help from overseas. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news