The 3 moments that grew the gangs, grew the meth and created a law of unintended political consequences

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Cough, as TDB pointed out in our How Stuart Nash wins National the 2020 election blog.

Gang numbers are up.

Meth prices are down.

What the hell happened and when does this political time bomb go off?

 

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1 – National accidentally reset the economic drug market:

Firstly, the gang numbers were rising under National. During it’s term, National moved the evidential threshold in the prosecution of living off the proceeds of crime from beyond reasonable doubt to balance of probabilities.

This legal change had an enormous impact on the drug economy.

You could argue that allowing the State to reduce the legal defences of the individual in this manner was exceptionally unjust and made for a one sided process, but because it was aimed at organised crime, no one cared.

But it had an unforeseen consequence.

Previously, growers of weed could structure their lives and financial arrangements through trusts and limited liability processes that insured that if they got raided, (combined with the difficulty to successfully prosecute growers under the proceeds of crime) they ultimately protected their investment.

That all changed the second the evidential thresholds moved. If you could lose everything for a plot of cannabis, then you may as well try and make as much money in as short a period of time as you can.

One weekend of making meth equals what it takes 3 months to grow for cannabis. The evidential change inadvertently pushed many previous growers into meth cooks, and was one of the reasons why the sudden drop in weed occurred a couple of years back and why it’s still dry at times.

We inadvertently upgraded an entire class of weed growers into meth cooks so the skill set to manufacture domestically exploded throughout the criminal world.

 

2 – The 501’s, social media & new meth markets:

The single greatest factor of the huge increase in gangs were the 501s. Australia’s contempt for us as a nation leapt new scales when they introduced ‘character tests’ which saw any Australian born overseas open to being renditioned out of Australia to their birth country for any criminal offending.

Australian authorities would rendition these prisoners to Christmas Island as punishment until they agreed to being sent back to their birth country.

In many cases, the NZ born Australian criminals that were being forcibly removed to us had no whanau connections whatsoever in NZ because most had moved when they were children. One could argue that these young men were the product of an Australian upbringing so any criminal behaviour they committed is really on Australia, not us as the birth country, but such nuanced reasoning is simply not a factor in Australian domestic politics.

So we have endured an enormous and sudden influx of Australian criminals who are vastly more violent than the domestic variations.

This has led to a couple of years of violent expansion by the Australian gangs who have used a level of violence that far exceeds NZs gang violence to simply enforce their will and take territory. A spate of murders, drug stand overs and beatings have been the outcomes.

This has led to the local gangs expanding by recruiting via social media for more members while gaining their own domestic cooks to make the meth in NZ so that the domestic gangs have as much money and foot soldiers as the new Australian factions.

We are seeing a ratcheting up of forces in the wake of this private gang war.

The biggest dividing line between the Australian faction and the domestic gangs is their source of meth. The Australians link to incredibly dangerous South American cartels who are another factor up in terms of violence and ruthlessness. The product is a far higher quality.

Domestic gangs get the base meth ingredient, pseudoephedrine, shipped in via Triad links from China who then have the Biker gangs transport the ingredients to other domestic  gangs who have their own cooks that produce the product.

This over supply has led to the price drop we see now.

 

5 Eye military intelligence priorities trump domestic problems: 

During it’s term, National upgraded  police surveillance powers to military level with the GCSB enabling and empowering Police with their 5 Eyes mass surveillance.

The problem when you give domestic police intelligence units that kind of military grade intelligence however is that the needs and interests of the spooks starts to over ride domestic interests.

By gaining an enormous insight into the connections to Chinese organised crime, the interest starts becoming of national intelligence value, not a domestic policing one.

We saw with the utter failure to anticipate white supremacy as a terror threat (despite one being on NZ soil planning an atrocity for 2 years) to see the ease with which top down values create blind spots.

Are these new police surveillance powers being used to actually prosecute organised crime gangs and move against them, or is the information of a higher national security value so all that’s happening is observation for intelligence purposes?

 

So when does this political time bomb go off?

The Australian Gangs have solidified their new supply lines and the domestic gangs are beefing up now with plans of retaliation. The new sources of meth have flooded NZ with a cheaper more pure product, so expect one hell of a violent Summer.

If a full blown gang war erupts on the streets of NZ, the freaked out urban populations who don’t see how huge the gangs are in provincial NZ are going to scream for protection and Simon Bridges will give them a tough Sheriff likely to exacerbate the problem rather than solve it.

What does the Government need to do?

1 – Demand a review of intelligence values, are the Police actually pursuing active crack downs on the Australian gangs or are they just observing? The Killer Bees were taken out as a force because all the old gangs narked on them and gave the Police the ability to completely take out the leadership. Police need to think seriously about cutting the same deal with the domestic gangs against the Australian ones, because it is the Australian ones generating the violence.

2 – Meth rehabilitation services must get an enormous boost in resourcing for any chance to cope with the wave of addiction that is coming.

3 – LEGALISE CANNABIS YOU MORONS: Allow the domestic gangs to legally produce cannabis so that their revenue stream is through a legal means rather than the meth, which is happening because of competition with the Australian gangs.

We need some blue sky thinking to stop what’s coming.

I’m not sure we are capable of that.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Good comment there Martyn,
    well said excellently 100%

    Try going into Stuart Nash’s ‘Napier electorate office’ today on Tennyson Street and it is as secure as a maximum prison facility.
    You can only wait until an attendant inside actually views the eternal camera firstly to see who is there and if acceptable will then allow the door to be unlocked to let you in even after you have a prior appointment with the minister at his office.

    Very scary times we are in now. Was this the PM Jacinda Arden’s version of a “kinder gentler government?”

  2. “2 – Meth rehabilitation services must get an enormous boost
    No need. All [it] needs is a double dose of that rarest of all senses. Common sense. It costs nothing but does wonders.
    Check this out? I never, ever thought I’d write this but I’m proud of the cops in Balclutha. You guys? Well done. Respect.

    “How the Clutha District is tackling its meth problem”
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/399607/how-the-clutha-district-is-tackling-its-meth-problem”
    3 – LEGALISE CANNABIS YOU MORONS:”
    There’s nothing moronic about the on-going criminalisation of what might be considered ‘recreational’ drugs.
    To me, it indicates there are many sharp, shady bastards in suits pulling down $ix figure$ plus who have a vested interest in keeping recreational drugs criminalised.
    Silly old, dumb old, ignorant old politicians my hairy arse. Those fuckers know it’s a hugely profitable industry for them and there mates if it’s kept illegal.
    We of us who can read and have the brains to use the internet can see how successful the Portuguese approach has been.
    If we’re to expect to see a decline in drug abuse victims, addictions, and drug related violence and crime, and again, it clearly works in Portugal, then de-criminalise ALL recreational ( I.e. Black market profit earning. ) drugs. All of them. Now. Today.
    The reason that will never happen is that we ‘normals’ are being psychologically farmed by legal and political narcissistic, sociopathic egomaniacs who couldn’t give one fuck about our well being and neither could their industry employees, the insurance industry, lawyers, gangs and private prisons.
    When I read the recreational drug stats’ here I know two things are happening.
    #1 We’re being lied to, exploited and manipulated.
    #2 People are unnecessarily suffering.

  3. we have known about our meth problem when national were in power john said he was going to get rid of it but he also said a whole lot of other bullshit stuff and never did anything but made matters worse by reducing our security checks on luggage and bio-security at our airports and ports

    • “but made matters worse”

      Yep. They left a tragic legacy that we’ll all be cleaning up for a long, long time.

  4. The explosion of homelessness, hunger, poverty, displacement and desperation that happened under the Nats also plays into it. How do parents protect their children, whether young or heading towards adulthood, when those children are continually hungry and cold, lacking shelter and protection, and have lost their sense of placement through losing their homes during the Great National Homes Selloff depression of those nine years?

    • They divided our country (national) between the have and the have nots who they HELP create and their policies exacerbated poverty and sowed social division in our communities

  5. Plus..here in the ‘nui…some chapters are selling Patches and membership..so its also a sad case of Gangs adopting neoliberal free market policies to increase numbers..

  6. drugs being imported with today’s 5 eyes surveillance?. someone looking the other way?
    $$$ being transferred [international]
    new laws to be introduced [national]
    police state in the making.
    under disguise of rising gang problem
    our freedom under attack again. it began
    2013 law. nz citizens surveillance legal
    nothing to see here folks

  7. Most of the big Meth precursors came in from Asia as did the gangs and the money laundering.

    “Hong Kong triads are working with some of New Zealand’s most notorious crime gangs to cash in on the country’s growing methamphetamine business.
    Organised crime groups the 14K, Sun Yee On, Water Room, and Big Circle Gang all have a presence in the country and most recently gangsters from Fujian have become prominent. They work with New Zealand’s most powerful organised crime groups, the Headhunters and Hells Angels, buying and selling the addictive hyper-stimulant.”

    https://www.scmp.com/article/724511/asian-drug-links-reach-south-meth-deals

    “One under-reported aspect of the methamphetamine world was the close involvement of Asian gangs, who act as the importers of precursor chemicals and the finished product, the professor said.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/79025635/new-zealands-first-meth-war-inevitable-if-the-head-hunters-continue-expansion

    Then came the South American’s who just drop off the drugs from boats to local residents.

    Pacific nations are ‘victims’ of Australian and New Zealand appetite for drugs, experts say
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/26/australia-and-new-zealand-urged-to-step-up-fight-against-pacific-drug-trade

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/113798384/ninety-mile-beach-meth-bust-boat-launch-a-comedy-of-errors-eyewitness-says

    Massive amount of cocaine washes up on Bethells Beach, Auckland
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/08/massive-amount-of-cocaine-washes-up-on-bethells-beach-auckland.html

    The Aussie gangs are a recent issue, less organised and more conspicuous, from being turfed out of OZ. They are late to the game and trying to get in on the action.

    Hundreds of criminals face deportation to New Zealand
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/71091542/hundreds-of-criminals-face-deportation-to-new-zealand

    Unlike OZ who deport their criminals back to country of origin, NZ gives drug smugglers residency while in jail and makes the NZ public pay for their social crimes and prison stays as ideal citizens while they sponsor other people into NZ from business caught importing in drugs.
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/384041/sroubek-double-antolik-likely-to-have-visited-new-zealand

    Money laundering drug money in NZ does not result in a criminal conviction, so of course the message is make money from drugs in NZ and you will not be punished for it!

    Woman discharged without conviction for laundering money for international drug ring
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/115157974/woman-discharged-without-conviction-for-laundering-money-for-international-drug-ring

    If offenders do get caught it seems to take decades for the police or IRD to notice their activities – these guys are being prosecuted for being ringleaders in a $40 million Auckland drug syndicate and got NZ residency without ever having to put in a tax return. That’s how pathetic our immigration is!

    Lawyers’ fees restrained by police after Auckland drug bust
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11842563

    “According to Inland Revenue records neither Yim nor Wu, who arrived in New Zealand in 1991 and 1994, have ever declared their income nor paid any tax.

    As part of the raids on Yim, police also seized 12 luxury sports cars valued at more than $1.3m, including a Ferrari worth more than $500,000 and a Lamborghini Gallardo. More than $1.8m in cash was seized and a further 1kg of methamphetamine found.”

    • saveNZ – The problem seems overwhelming.

      The govt should set up a task force to deal with all aspects of the problem. One that would take action, not just make recommendations. Law changes are needed urgently, and the laws need to be enforced.

      (I’ve seen lives destroyed by meth use. The harm that it causes, and the trail of grief that it leaves..)

      • Totally agree Kheala, the human and social costs to society of Meth and drug use in general, is devastating for communities… the drug users, their families, the victim turned user, then the user turned criminal… then more victims especially children in communities that have strong Meth/drug usage and then the follow effects of the next generation of P children going through the NZ education system and trying to make their way in the world with massive disadvantages even before they are born. They cycle is continuing with the government thinking getting a few meth busts and proceeds of crimes acts is a win and going to make enough dents. It won’t.

        It’s a cycle that has been ignored by government, police, justice and local government and even worse created by poor policy (laissez faire import policy, using Meth as a political football to gain votes and implement policy using fake levels, from the Natz) and an idea that a neoliberal ambulance at the bottom of the cliff is going to stem it from both Labour and Natz, it won’t, neither will legalising cannabis, at this state it is too late, Meth is here, gangs are here, criminal activity is here, moneyulaundering is here, enforcement is weak, poor and absent in many areas!

        Government need to start with prevention aka stopping the drugs getting in, putting in harder penalties for those importing in drugs, much greater checks and surveillance of new residents (they are targeting students and pretty much anyone coming into or already in NZ) especially deportation if they are new to NZ to try and keep them out, better understanding that just one drug pusher/importer is literally creating hundreds if not thousands of new victims, having opportunities for local people so they do not join gangs, working with gangs to stop their drug activities, not thinking that money laundering is a victimless crime, the high cost of living vs low wages in NZ is partially due to NZ being such an easy place to launder the money and get citizenship while you do it, and enforcement is absent as are stringent rules… in fact IRD has been reduced 1/3 in size so not exactly going after high spenders operating in NZ who appear to have zero or little income! https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/355624/tackling-money-laundering-in-nz-more-needs-to-be-done

        We are getting increasing amounts of busts also with other harmful goods too https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/11/customs-seize-1-8-million-cigarettes-in-major-fraud-case.html where illegal imports are found with garbage bags full of cash… labour frauds, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12171615, also they have literally millions of money to throw at lawyers in NZ… justice is not exactly equal in NZ anymore!

        No wonder the police prefer to go after Maori for tiny crimes that make their conviction rates look good, and leave the big moneylaunders and drug kingpins and illegal importers and labour fraudsters, literally stripping out NZ future where there is more drug fuelled crime, no high paid jobs, legitimate businesses failing, no future anymore for youth and the majority of Kiwis, and the black economy is strengthening as is the financial advantage of criminal activity here.

        The saying is, if you can’t beat them join them, and you have to wonder how many NZ businesses will have to start shady and illegal practices to compete, as is how many NZ officials are now corrupted by the money being bandied about.

        Former West Auckland constable Peter Pakau, who was jailed after pleading guilty to multiple drug and corruption charges in November 2014 is the tip of the iceberg!

  8. Wouldn’t this:
    “Allow the domestic gangs to legally produce cannabis so that their revenue stream is through a legal means”

    run into the government’s determination to keep business out of the cannabis supply industry?

  9. National love drugs and violence and pretty much all crime because it gives them something to say they’re going to fix therefore something to stand for. We know they’re not interested in improving the lives of the general population. Without drugs and violence and crime generally there’d be nothing to fix and nothing to promise except shifting as much wealth as it can into the fewest hands as possible, which of course it cannot admit. The irony is that National and the right generally need drugs and violence and crime like humans need air so it’s not in their interests to fix anything, which of course they never do, but they still need to say they will.

    • So Labour have completed all their promises have they. The homeless those in poverty those on a waiting list at the hospital
      those affected by crime may not agree.

  10. I thought gun owners were responsible for the violence? Why is so much being spent there and not enabling better rehabilitation and prevention.

    • “I thought gun owners were responsible..”

      Gun owning meth dealers are more tragedies waiting to happen.

    • You still don’t get it do you. The Christchurch massacre was not done because the killer talked them to death!

  11. National encourage a housing crisis and then stand back and do virtually nothing apart from deny there is a housing crisis. New Government arrives and acknowledges the seriousness of the housing situation and sets about addressing it. All entitled National do is throw their BS from the sideline in a desperate attempt to “score hits” and be relevant. Oh the irony.

    National opened the immigration floodgates from certain parts of the world so the books “appear” to be healthy and perpetuate the farcical “rock star economy. Their freshly painted letterbox looked good but the house in the background was burning down. Some of the tidal wave of immigration bought with them record amounts of drugs. Now Mr Irrelevant Soimon Bwidges attempts to gain traction against the Government over drug crime etc. Is there no end to the irony and hypocrisy of the Me Me Me Party and the tossers within it?

  12. It also aint just Meth, so called, ‘high end’ drugs can be just as dangerous… absolutely sad that it often effects young people who are then murdered and the murderer via psychotic rage/paranoia from drugs also gets their lives ruined.

    Canterbury teen Heath Morris jailed for at least 13 years, six months for Oliver Johnston’s murder
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/111987227/canterbury-teenager-heath-morris-jailed-for-13-years-6-months-years-for-oliver-johnstons-murder

    Happening all around the world, it is not just Meth, it’s a lot of drugs that are very dangerous and unpredictable when people start taking them and they seem to be flooding into NZ such as Meth and cocaine.

    College student repeatedly, fatally stabs best friend on cocaine rage
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12274819

    ‘Best mate’ accused of bashing Liam Anderson to death in a drug-fuelled rage set to plead NOT guilty on mental health grounds
    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/best-mate-accused-of-bashing-liam-anderson-to-death-in-a-drug-fuelled-rage-set-to-plead-not-guilty-on-mental-health-grounds/ar-BBPpwJi

    ‘Lovely, anti-drugs’ boy, 16, died after taking cocktail of cocaine, LSD and a huge dose of ecstasy while ‘showing off’ to his friends, inquest hears
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5023397/Boy-16-died-taking-cocaine-LSD-huge-dose-ecstasy.html

    I’m totally for medical Cannabis and exploring it as a prescribed drug to treat pain and people with terminal illness being able to grow their own supply.

    Not so keen on thinking that allowing the ‘market’ to out price drugs or control drugs is going to work. For some people their lives end with drugs, other’s their lives and others are destroyed, and maybe a few people drugs has little negative effect on. (Who often then suffer depression, mental health issues and anxiety which they never attribute to their recreational drug use).

    Drugs can destroy society as fast as Neoliberalism, and in NZ they seem to be collaborating together and destroying NZ society fast with more and more people unable to look after their kids or themselves without government help and intervention and social mobility on the downward trend for up to 50% of locals not profiting from black market economy including drugs, labour and contraband.

  13. Wastewater tests shows the drug usage…

    Meth NZ’s top drug – it’s in the water

    “The stunning dominance of methamphetamine in illicit drug use in New Zealand and the higher use of the party drug ecstasy in the South Island has been revealed by the first-ever batch of nationwide wastewater tests.

    Police on Tuesday released the results of three months testing (November to January) for meth, cocaine, heroin, MDMA/ecstasy and fentanyl at 37 wastewater plants taking in 80 per cent of New Zealand’s population.

    The results showed an overwhelming dominance of methamphetamine with nationwide use equating to $1 billion a year and an estimated $20 million per week in social harm.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/112352168/meth-nzs-top-drug–its-in-the-water

  14. I agree with Countryboy that the Portugal model is a big part of the solution to this whole sorry mess. Redirecting the resources currently used to harrass and punish drug users into helping them with their mental health challenges (including but not limited to addiction), economic precarity, social isolation, and so on – the actual causes of unhealthy drug use – has been proven internationally to be the most effective way to reduce demand, and harm. I also agree with Bomber that it would help to legalize recreational cannabis, with a similar set of regulations to alcohol. It’s well known as street level that a lot of the meth use in Aotearoa – like the synthetics use – is driven by lack of access to ganja.

    I want all you stubborn prohibitionists out there to watch Patrick Gower’s ‘On Weed’ documentary (both parts) and see how jovial and harmless he becomes when he consumes cannabis. Now imagine how rabid he would become if we consumed meth instead. Your ideal might be a drug-free NZ (about as realistic as a sex-free NZ), but the real choice you have is whether NZ’s drug regulations push a significant population of drug users towards cannabis. or meth. Surely you can see that cannabis causes less harm, to both the user and the community around them?

    When you factor in the all the legitimate jobs that would be created in a legal cannabis industry, offering economically marginalized people a way to make a living from something other than the black market, and all the business tax and income tax from that industry that the government could use in health and education, it just seems like a no-brainer.

  15. The saddest part of the meth epidemic is that everyone knew it was coming, the police warned of it and yet nothing was done to stop it. And once the epidemic took hold National showed their incompetence with the appalling meth detection fiasco… Since then we have watched the opiate epidemic in the USA explode and have been warned of the impending fentanyl problem… is anything being done?

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