New powers and increased resources have enabled Police to cut a swathe through New Zealand's illicit methamphetamine industry, Police Minister Judith Collins said.
"With increased enforcement and tough new legislation from the Government, Police have wasted no time closing down methamphetamine labs and rounding up the people who manufacture and sell methamphetamine in our community," Ms Collins said.
Police announced today that in the last two months of 2009 they concluded a series of operations throughout the country that resulted in nearly 400 arrests for drug related offences. December saw the closure of provisionally 19 clan labs, bringing to137 the number of labs discovered and dismantled during 2009.
Police also recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods during the operations.
"Alarmingly, these seizures included a large number of firearms which confirms the hardcore criminal element that is involved in the methamphetamine industry," Ms Collins said.
During its first year in office the Government introduced a raft of new policies aimed at tackling the methamphetamine - or "P" - trade and organised crime which is the driving force behind methamphetamine manufacture and distribution.
These included more stringent border control, strengthened treatment for methamphetamine addicts, and the creation of a new Police unit whose mission is to find the seize the assets of organised crime.
"These initiatives are paying off by greatly strengthening the Police's arsenal in the fight against methamphetamine. I'm delighted that the new capabilities and excellent Police work are cutting a swathe through New Zealand's illicit methamphetamine industry," Ms Collins said.