Queenstown struggling as gang and methamphetamine presence skyrockets

Demand for methamphetamine is growing in Queenstown.
Demand for methamphetamine is growing in Queenstown. Photo credit: File/Supplied

Queenstown is grappling with an increase in gangs and methamphetamine.

A local police officer says demand for the drug is growing along with the Otago Lakes population.

Det Snr Sgt Malcolm Inglis, of Queenstown, believes most of the meth is coming from the gangs.

He said meth is also showing up increasingly in the water, and there are more associated burglaries and thefts.

Det Snr Sgt Inglis' comments come after police seized more than $200,000 of meth, more than $300,000 cash and other drugs in Queenstown on Monday morning.

"We're not different to the national picture really but it's been a bit slower here than other centres around New Zealand," he told Newshub on Wednesday. "But certainly we've seen an increase in the availability of meth in the Otago Lakes District, which is a concern to us obviously."

Det Snr Sgt Inglis said the district had a fast-growing population.

"We've got a lot of people from different areas around New Zealand - whether they're in the trades or other industries in the area to work, and obviously they've been experiencing the meth and other drugs in those areas.

"Naturally [that] brings the problem to this area.

"We're certainly aware of a greater gang presence - most methamphetamine is out of the gangs."

Det Snr Sgt Inglis said he didn't want Queenstown, which in excess of 1 million tourists visit each year, to have a reputation as a "drug town".

"We want to keep Queenstown as Queenstown's well-known; as a good holiday destination.

"It's important that we put in as many resources as we can which are available to us, into addressing the problems that meth causes any community."