Jacinda, how do you solve a problem like Meth?

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After weeks of waiting, we finally have confirmation of who will lead the nation, with a Labour-New Zealand First government, supported by the Greens. Jacinda Arden has indicated that most of Labour’s first 100 days programme of work has remained intact, with a few minor changes.

But what measures does the Government plan to put in place to attack the meth problem? While Labour doesn’t specifically target out meth in their policies, when we look at the root causes and solutions needed to address this nationwide issue, together, the following measures will contribute to solving the problem.  

  • Increase the number of sworn police officers by 1,000 over three years. Funding will be provided to increase police numbers to bring the total number of Police Officers to 10,000, which will restore the police-to-population ratio back below 1 to 500. The focus will also be placed back on community policing, which could help in communities ravaged by meth.
  • Widen Police scope to take action against organised crime.  As gangs are still responsible for distributing the majority of P into our communities, Labour will review legislation that governs the ability to prosecute those involved in organised crime with the objective of widening the Police’s ability to take action against organised crime activities. The primary pieces of legislation are the Crimes Act, Local Government Act, and Sentencing Act.

This recognises that Police need to have the legislative tools to do whatever it takes to remove gangs from society, while also providing protection to those who wish to exit the gangs and start afresh.

  • Respond to the Law Commission’s report Controlling and Regulating Drugs – A Review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, and replace the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Some of the key proposals in this report include removing minor drug offenders from the criminal justice system, imposing rehabilitative sentences to address drug dependence problems and providing greater opportunities for those in need of treatment to access it. A full scale review of the current drug classification system is also planned to focus on assessing a drug’s risk of harm, including social harm.

The meth issue won’t be solved in 100 days, but if the solutions above could be looked at during Labour’s first term, the country could finally make some inroads against the damage done by this harmful drug. Meanwhile those involved in the meth decontamination industry will continue to restore the health back to Kiwi homes, as manufacture and addiction at the moment is only on an upward trajectory.

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