Make synthetic drug dealers 'disappear' - Mark Richardson

The AM Show host Mark Richardson is calling for a war on synthetic cannabis suppliers, suggesting we should look to the Philippines and make the dealers "disappear".

National MP Simeon Brown currently has a Bill before Parliament that would quadruple the maximum sentence for synthetics suppliers from two to eight years.

However The AM Show host says the people selling synthetics are likely the same people selling meth - and they won't care about higher prison sentences.

"Putting the prison sentences up, I don't think it's going to have any impact," Richardson says.

"If they really want to affect supply, they're going to have to conduct an actual war - and conduct it like a war.

"You have some very trusted individuals who aren't corrupt, you give them the power to operate above, below, underneath in the murky shadows - and these dealers just go missing."

Host Duncan Garner compared his views to those of Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a wave of killings in his war against drugs.

"You're saying murder under the cover of darkness," Garner responded.

The Philippine government estimates at least 3000 people have been killed in the war on drugs, but human rights groups say more than 13,000 people are dead.

Richardson said while there is "unacceptable collateral damage", New Zealand could do a better job implementing these policies.

"We're not getting anywhere right now are we with the 'softly-softly' approach," he says.

"Because of this human rights mumbo-jumbo we therefore can't keep up with these suppliers. Allow these people to operate in a murky fashion and get the job done."

But experts say the Philippines' approach is doomed to fail.

"Targeting the supply side can have short-term effects. However, these are usually limited to creating market chaos rather than reducing the size of the market," London School of Economics' drug policy programme director John Collins told Al Jazeera.

"History and economics from around the globe highlight a policy certainty: the Philippines' new 'war' will fail and society will emerge worse off from it."