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Cocaine unlikely to gain a foothold in NZ, UC expert says

Cocaine unlikely to gain a foothold in NZ, UC expert says

March 12, 2014

A University of Canterbury criminologist says cocaine is unlikely to gain a foothold in New Zealand despite a significant cocaine shipment bound for Christchurch being intercepted.

Three men have been arrested in Christchurch in a joint police and Customs operation, and a fourth person is charged with the importation and possession of cocaine and is scheduled to appear in court in Auckland.

Last month, three kilograms of cocaine were found in an empty shipping container by staff at the Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) city depot in Woolston.

UC sociology professor Greg Newbold says cocaine seizures are very rare in New Zealand.

``Most of the world’s cocaine is consumed in Europe and the United States, where it is often associated with the wealthy and affluent.

``The effects of cocaine wear off quickly and a user needs repeated doses to stay high for an evening, so it makes for an expensive night. The reason cocaine is seldom found in New Zealand relates to the efficiency of our border controls, which renders importing illegal drugs risky and difficult.

``Since the 1980s, most of the illegal drugs used in New Zealand have been locally produced: home-grown marijuana, heroin and morphine home-baked and methamphetamine cooked in local labs.

``At the moment there are no domestic sources for cocaine. So the high cost of cocaine, its short-lasting effects, the difficulty in importing it, and the maximum life sentence attached to it, will deter most potential importers and means that the drug is unlikely to gain a foothold in New Zealand,’’ Professor Newbold says.


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