National target US-style treatment for meth addicts; harder line on drug smugglers

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National is promising to roll out an intensive rehab programme for meth addicts, if elected, as well as cracking down on drug smugglers.

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National wants to trial a treatment programme – known as Matrix – providing wrap-around support to meth addicts, Judith Collins says. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Leader Judith Collins has spent the morning meeting with addiction advocates in Napier before unveiling the party’s plan to tackle methamphetamine harm.

“The use of this drug tears families apart, fuels violence, enriches criminals and destroys lives.

“We cannot tolerate the continued misery this drug causes, which leads to rising levels of violence and poverty, and widespread social harm,” she said.


National wants to trial a treatment programme – known as Matrix – providing wrap-around support to meth addicts in their communities.

The 20 week programme – developed in the United States and operating in Australia – would initially run in 11 locations.

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It would also ensure every District Health Board has at least one detox bed with a fulltime specialist to help patients break their habit.

Health spokesperson Shane Reti said National will reduce demand by improving the health response and providing treatment options that are not available today.

The party’s also promising to boost funding for police, customs and health authorities to identify drugs coming across the border, but hasn’t said by how much.

Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges said there must be a strong response from law and order agencies to disrupt those trying to bring meth into the country.

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Shane Reti, left, and Simon Bridges Photo: RNZ / Getty Images

“We will build capacity to interdict the international crime cartels that are bringing this problem to our shores. Good intelligence and international co-operation will be a priority under National.

“There can be no tolerance for the dealing and supply of methamphetamine. Those who peddle this drug are responsible for the misery and social harm it causes,” he said.

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Collins said there is no single solution to what has become a scourge on society.

“A National government will tackle this problem from all angles, addressing both demand and supply,” she said.

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