No proof Mob’s meth programme participants ever used the drug in the first place

There is no hard evidence any of the participants in the Mongrel Mob methamphetamine pilot had actually used the drug at all, says National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“The Mob-led pilot – ‘Hawke’s Bay Chaindog Community Methamphetamine Rehabilitation Initiative – Kahukura’ – was described by the Prime Minister as being important when she approved the application for $2.75 million.

“There are several major problems with the pilot, especially in methodology.

“First, there was no methamphetamine test before the trial started to act as a baseline and to confirm the 10 participants were actually taking methamphetamine.

“History-taking is not enough for a trial like this, as shown by the fact that during the rest of the pilot lab tests were used.

“Second, ministerial answers show that some interventions may have already been occurring before the pilot. So how do we know the pilot was the cause?

“Third, lab testing during the pilot was not undertaken by an independent lab but by the project’s own Team Leader, who surely had a conflict of interest.

“Fourth, the sum total of the description of the pilot contained in the $2.75 million proposal comprises just two paragraphs. Anyone applying for any sort of research grant will know that a proposal comprising two paragraphs won’t get you in the door, let alone millions in approved funding.

“The Government needs to front up and explain to New Zealand taxpayers and researchers why it gave $2.75 million to a Mongrel Mob methamphetamine program on the back of a weak and poorly-run trial.”

You can read answers to Written Parliamentary Questions below:

Reply 36107 (2021) has been answered to Dr Shane Reti 27 Aug 2021
Portfolio: Health (Hon Andrew Little)
Question: Was there any laboratory testing (not history taking) showing that participants in the Mongrel Mob associated Kahukura methamphetamine pilot were using Methamphetamine at the very start of the pilot at or around Day 1 ?
Reply: No. The testing used was a screen and has short-term sensitivity only. Negative tests are not unexpected as participants were expected to be committed to giving up methamphetamine and may have already begun this process. Programmes such as Kahukura aim to support individuals to maintain abstinence long term.

Reply 37859 (2021) has been answered to Dr Shane Reti 10 Sep 2021
Portfolio: Health (Hon Andrew Little)
Question: Further to 36104(2021) did any of the 10 people in the Mongrel Mob associated Kahukura methamphetamine program ever test positive for methamphetamine while they were on the program ?
Reply: I have not been informed of any specific instances of individuals involved in the Kahukura programme testing positive for methamphetamine.

Reply 34280 (2021) has been answered to Dr Shane Reti 18 Aug 2021
Portfolio: Health (Hon Andrew Little)
Question: What was the timing within the Mongrel Mob-associated Kahukura methamphetamine pilot, for giving the 4 urine methamphetamine tests?
Reply: I am advised that testing (via dip-test) was undertaken in the H2R-led Kahukura initiative during weeks 2, 3, 4, and 6 of the pilot (9, 17, 26 October and 8 November 2020). It was conducted on site and undertaken in the first instance by the Project Team Leader under the guidance of a clinician, and by the Project Team Leader on their own following this. Participants were aware before commencement that they would be required to be drug-tested, but were not given warning regarding when they were to be tested. I am advised that officials received information that all tests were passed by all participants, and this was documented in the proposal submitted to the Proceeds of Crime panel. It would not be appropriate for either officials or for me as Minister to receive personal health information regarding individual participants such as personalised drug testing results.