$15m allocated to tackling drug abuse

  • John Key
Prime Minister

Almost $15 million dollars seized from criminals will be invested in anti-drug initiatives, with more funding for Police and Customs and a greater focus on treatment for drug abusers, Prime Minister John Key says.

This year’s funding is the highest-ever allocated under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act as authorities continue to clamp down on illegal activity, and will fund the Government’s ongoing efforts to combat the scourge of methamphetamine and other drugs.

“When the Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan was launched in 2009, New Zealand had one of the highest rates of P use in the world. Through the combined efforts of law enforcement and health authorities we are making progress, but we need to do more,” Mr Key says.

“We are now dealing with a hard-core group of users struggling to kick the habit. So we are focusing more on them by investing a total of $8.7 million in health-related initiatives, including treatment facilities, as well as funding more innovative ways for police to work with health services to reduce demand.”

A total of 15 initiatives will be funded. They are:

  • $2.14m to better identify P use among incoming prisoners and to pilot a prison treatment programme.
  • $900,000 to extend the intensive treatment programme at the Moana House Dunedin facility as well as its community care work.
  • $800,000 for a treatment service in Wellington with the Salvation Army.
  • $843,000 to pilot a programme aimed at preventing and addressing substance-related harm in schools.
  • $634,000 to build on efforts to prevent, identify and respond to foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
  • $350,000 to extend the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court for a further year until its evaluation is complete.
  • $3m for a joint Police and Health initiative to reduce P demand in Northland.
  • $1.07m for the recovery of legal costs for actions taken under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.
  • $1.65m to boost the Police Financial Crime Group and Asset Recovery Unit.
  • $720,400 to establish a New Zealand Customs presence at the International Targeting Centre in Washington DC to target methamphetamine flows into New Zealand from the Americas.
  • $760,000 for Customs to pilot an operational post in Hong Kong for two years to support multilateral operational activity and facilitate information exchange with Hong Kong, China and Taiwan Customs.
  • $505,000 to identify and stop precursors and illicit drugs at source in Southern China.
  • $732,000 to fund new Customs intelligence to disrupt and dismantle the supply of methamphetamine into New Zealand by overseas gangs.
  • $568,000 to upgrade existing and establish new Customs examination and exhibiting facilities in Auckland.
  • $35,000 to develop a plan for how to set up an early warning system for new and emerging illicit substances (such as psychoactive substances).

“Police have restrained around $393 million of cash and assets since the Act came into force in 2009, and $138 million has been subsequently forfeited,” Mr Key says.

“And today’s announcement brings the total amount invested under the Act in anti-drug programmes to around $31 million.

“This funding will boost the Government’s efforts to combat methamphetamine and make our communities safer.”

The annual Tackling Methamphetamine Indicators and Progress Report will be released later this year.