National will tackle methamphetamine harm

National has outlined an integrated and comprehensive plan to tackle the issues caused by methamphetamine use.

On a visit to Hawke’s Bay today, National Party Leader Judith Collins announced the Plan that will deliver a response work programme, unifying resources from Justice, Health, Police and Customs.

You can read National's Tackling Methamphetamine Policy Factsheet here.

“National’s plan tackles the harm of methamphetamine use, restoring hope to people trapped in cycles of drug dependence and challenging those who peddle misery in our communities.

“The use of this drug tears families apart, fuels violence, enriches criminals and destroys lives. We cannot tolerate the continued misery this drug causes, which leads to rising levels of violence and poverty, and widespread social harm.”

Methamphetamine is the most commonly detected illicit drug nationwide. Social agencies identify it as a significant factor in domestic and family violence.

“There is no single solution to what has become a scourge on our society. A National government will tackle this problem from all angles, addressing both demand and supply.”

National Plan to tackle demand will:

  • Deploy the Matrix Methamphetamine Treatment Pilot Programme across District Health Boards to provide direct support to those recovering from methamphetamine use.

  • Add 13 detox bed for methamphetamine across New Zealand, ensuring every District Health Board has at least one.

  • Ensure at least one methamphetamine specialist per District Health Board is available to assist with in-patient detoxing from methamphetamine.

  • Establish a contestable fund of $50 million to pilot new or scaled-up whole-community harm reduction programmes.

  • Establish best practices for frontline police to refer meth users to DHBs, Ministry of Social Development, education resources and community-based support.

Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says National will reduce demand by improving the health response and providing treatment options that are not available today.

Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says there must also be a strong response from our law and order agencies to disrupt those trying to bring meth into the country.

“We will build capacity to interdict the international crime cartels that are bringing this problem to our shores. Good intelligence and international co-operation will be a priority under National.

“There can be no tolerance for the dealing and supply of methamphetamine. Those who peddle this drug are responsible for the misery and social harm it causes.”

National’s Plan to tackle supply will:

  • Increase funding for drug intelligence to enable Customs, Police and health authorities to identify drugs coming into the country.

  • Increase funding for Police and Health to identify new drugs and bad batches sooner.

  • Introduce more drug dogs at airports and ports.

  • Identify a new supply disruption strategy to reduce methamphetamine use in Corrections facilities.

  • Target domestic organised crime networks with extra focus and resourcing from Police.

National has a strong track-record of fighting the meth scourge. The Methamphetamine Action Plan we introduced saw increased seizures of methamphetamine and a 59 per cent reduction in use as a proportion of the population, between 2009 and 2015.

“Labour rescinded National’s refreshed Action Plan in 2018 in favour of an ad-hoc, piecemeal approach to drug harm,” Mr Bridges says.

“We will re-establish the social investment approach across the justice system, making sure the impacts of crime are addressed, as well as the causes of it.”

Ms Collins says New Zealand needs a co-ordinated and effective response to the methamphetamine problem.

“With this Plan, National will deliver one.”

You can read National's Tackling Methamphetamine Policy Factsheet here.