By 3 News online staff
Up to $1 billion of methamphetamine and precursor drugs has been intercepted at the New Zealand border since 2009.
Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says 66kgs of methamphetamine and 3.3 tonnes of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine has been stopped at the International Mail Centre, in sea and air cargo shipments as well as from individuals entering the country.
The street value of the drugs is estimated to be between $740 million and $1b and the seizures have prevented $410m of "drug harm", Mr Williamson says.
Drug harm is the total social costs of drug use and includes associated crime, lost output, health service use and other diverted resources, such as Customs and police time.
Mr Williams says Customs should be applauded for stopping so much of this "vile drug" from entering the country.
"Targeted operational activity has proven successful in disrupting criminal supply chains."
Since the signing of a memorandum of cooperation with China in 2010, both countries have worked together to stop the import of precursor ingredients from China, he says.
China is New Zealand's primary source of methamphetamine precursors and Mr Williamson says the cooperation, which included sharing information and intelligence, has paid dividends.
"Close work with other customs administrations results in a better understanding of illicit drug supply and presents the opportunity to disrupt the supply chain from the export end."
Methamphetamine use has decreased from 2.2 percent in 2007/08 to 0.9 percent in late 2012, Mr Williamson says.
source: newshub archive