Key loses war on P

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, February 10th, 2013 - 55 comments
Categories: crime, drugs, john key - Tags: , ,

In 2009 John Key personally declared a “War on P”:

My message to the gangs is clear. This Government is coming after your business and we will use every tool we have to destroy it. We will be ruthless in our pursuit of you and the evil drug you push.

The move was gushingly reported by his adoring fans, Key was to be the “nemesis of P” no less.  It was also questioned by many with a passing knowledge of the history of various “wars” on drugs.  At the time I wrote:

It seems that Key has failed to learn from history, and thus is doomed to repeat it. He is talking tough instead of exploring the evidence and the alternatives. He has now very personally identified himself with this “war”, as he did with the reform of Auckland governance. These are issues against which the success or failure of his leadership will be judged.

Despite Key’s occasional claims to be winning the war, various reports over the years have highlighted a lack of progress. But now the final report card is in and it’s apparent that the failure of the war is complete:

P trade impervious to crackdown, say police

Intelligence report warns hard line hasn’t made a dent in local P market.

Increased efforts by the Government and law enforcement to tackle the country’s methamphetamine problem have failed to dent the drug trade, according to a classified police report.

The price, purity and availability of the Class A drug have remained relatively stable since new legislation was announced in 2009 – including a ban on medicines containing pseudoephedrine – following a Herald series called the War on P. …

“Despite the increased focus across Government, law enforcement and industry to minimise methamphetamine related harms, there does not seem to be a discernible change in the drug’s domestic popularity and availability,” according to the National Strategic Assessment paper. …

Price:
The mean price of a gram of methamphetamine increased from $600 in 2007 to $800 in 2011, but went down to $685 last year. The mean price of a point (0.1g) remains relatively stable at $100.

Availability:
The current perceived availability of methamphetamine remains easy/very easy. Almost all police reporting suggests that methamphetamine remains widely and easily available.

So there it is. Key foolishly claimed the “War on P” as his own, and (predictably) he failed. In this, as it seems in everything else (magical tax cuts, bootcamps, jobs summit, roaring out of recession, stopping the exodus), John Key is all promise, no deliver.

55 comments on “Key loses war on P”

  1. QoT 1

    How kind of the Herald not to do some basic research and reporting on Key’s previous statements. I’m sure he’ll be appropriately thankful.

    Can haz pseudoephedrine back nao?

  2. Foreign Waka 2

    OK, political goals and social equality is one thing, drugs is a completely different issue all together. We are talking about organized crime, a hardened base of people who shamelessly take advantage of the very young, impressionable, homeless, mentally and socially disturbed and all and sundry who belief not to get hooked. The behavior is as old as humanity itself – the means have changed. To make this one man’s crusade, and yes that was a stupid statement if there ever was one, is just bollocks. Drugs are a scourge and many countries have tried to stem the problem. Denmark perhaps has some more insight into balancing regulations. However, the responsibility stays with the parent, school and adult environment for a starter and not with politicians. But that is like a rabbit hole isn’t it, the deeper you dig….

  3. Dr Terry 3

    If Key finds the drug problem so necessary to eliminate in NZ, how is it that he sends our troops to protect Afghanistan which is providing 90% of the world’s dry opium? So it seems OK to grow all those poppies on Afghan farms, thus to support corruption, but very, very bad to be a “user” especially if you are a New Zealander!

    • bad12 3.1

      Makes you wonder a little does it not, under the rule of the Taleban, (no matter how abhorrent we view ‘their’ mistreatment of people), the export of what is considered to be the finest products for the manufacture of Heroin virtually ground to a halt,

      After being invaded firstly by the Russians and latterly by the US and it’s allies the trade is once more thriving with reports that family members of the current Afghan President are involved,

      Having all but made it impossible for addicts of P to access the precursor ingredients to manufacture that particular drug through the purchase of local products Slippery the Prime Minister has simply ensured that what was a small time local production based around ‘schools’ of local addicts has become a highly profitable import business for the mainly asian importers of a far higher quality precursor that makes a far higher quality and thus more addictive drug,

      We have to wonder just who has shares in the chemical company Glaxo-Klein as it is that company from one plant in China that supplies the bulk of the precursor that arrives in this country,

      With the stroke of a pen the Slippery lead National Government has turned the trade in P from a small time local criminal activity into a multi-million dollar international organized money making machine…

      • joe90 3.1.1

        With the stroke of a pen the Slippery lead National Government has turned the trade in P from a small time local criminal activity into a multi-million dollar international organized money making machine…

        Not so…..and honestly, there’s enough to throw at Key without making shit up.

        • bad12 3.1.1.1

          And that proves what point that you are attempting to make???, was it not the Slippery lead National Government that brought in the regulations which made the buying of products containing the precursor ingredients from chemists a very risky if not impossible means of accessing supply for P addicts,

          In doing so the Government turned what was then a small time local criminal activity mostly carried out by addicts into a major international smuggling operation of the precursor out of China into New Zealand giving those with a willingness to manufacture the drug P a far greater supply of the precursor substance than they had previous access to…

        • joe90 3.1.1.2

          You’re making shit up, again.

          In 2004 it was Jim Anderton who got the ball rolling and in 2010 Nact moved to reclassify ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as prescription only drugs.

          • bad12 3.1.1.2.1

            Yes exactly what i said, the National Government made it extremely difficult for those wishing to cook up a batch of P to gain access to the precursor’s that were being retailed in New Zealand as part of readily available medicinal products,

            Whatever Jim Anderton did or didn’t do had not up to the point in 2010 when the National Government moved to restrict access to medications containing the precursor ingredient for the drug P made the slightest difference to such access to locally sourced products,

            Restricting access to local supplies of the precursor substance simply created a demand which the Chinese having a whole Glaxo-Klein factory in the backyard churning the stuff out 24/7 were only too happy to fill importing amounts of the precursor into the country that were unheard of befor the changes the National Government made to restrict the local supply,

            Having a hugely increased supply of the precursor simply allowed local manufacturers to produce far greater quantities of ‘purer’ product which then gave them the imperative to increase the number of ‘users’ of the end product,

            If the National Government instead of increasing the criminal sanctions had of simply viewed the ‘use’ and ‘addiction’ to P as a health problem to be treated in the same manner that heroin use and addiction have been for decades the demand for the product would have been virtually non-existent as a replacement for addicts is freely available…

            • Duzknow 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Meanwhile I can’t get kickass flu killing coldral pills anymore, I’ve since had to switch to lemon, honey, ginger and garlic mmmmhmmm

          • joe90 3.1.1.2.2

            the same manner that heroin use and addiction have been for decades the demand for the product would have been virtually non-existent as a replacement for addicts is freely available…

            The status of opiates hasn’t changed, the demand hasn’t gone away and that’s the first time I’ve ever heard MMT protocols described as replacement for addicts is freely available ~snort~ and there you have it…clueless.

            • bad12 3.1.1.2.2.1

              Yeah right we still have a huge Heroin problem driving it’s users to rob chemists and anything else available to supply their addiction,

              There is Heroin use in the community but all the addicts know that they can get on the treatment program so they don’t bother with most of the crime that associates with the addiction,

              There’s not a medical equivalent to the drug P, pull my other leg it plays Jesus my Lord come unto me, with backing from the full NZ symphony orchestra,

              Space-heads like what you obviously are quoting Government reports and legislation while being ‘clueless’ about the real world situations behind such things are a laugh a minute,and twisting a paragraph of what someone has said so as to attempt to point score with the pretense that something else was the intent of the commenter is the art of one who changes the subject in order to protect their infantile ego…

  4. fenderviper 4

    Judging by the way Key governs and by the behaviour of his ministers he gave up on the war and joined the users. The whole NAct gang appear to be amongst the heavy users now and Banks seems to have been going so hard his memory has suffered.

    Some years ago a documentary suggested there was a prominent Auckland businessman involved in getting the gangs working together in an effort to flood the country with P. I’d still like to know who this person is and if they have made donations to the National Party.

    • David H 4.1

      Well at those prices P and ‘coke’ are the rich mans drug. And the Pot they really go after, is the poor mans drug. So if Key really wanted to have a real go at P, then all he has to do is decriminalise Marijuana, and just look at the resources that would free up. But then Banksie, and the rest of the Nact twitchy mob would have a conniption fit.

  5. Behind all drugs rackets there has to be very wealthy individuals, as the people who get caught selling or buying do not have what it takes to finance these deals.

    And the wealthy will protect their own.

    • Tiresias 5.1

      Personally I’m reluctant to attribut malice, duplicity and sinister motives to what can easily be explained by arrogance, ignorance and stupidity.

      • blue leopard 5.1.1

        @Tiresias

        I don’t think that “Protecting their own” would be felt as malice, duplicity or sinister by those who do it; it would be experienced as what friends do for one another.
        Very wealth individuals selling a product to make a profit, also, isn’t necessarily done with malice, even when the product causes problems.

        In other words, I do not think that Maggie May’s comment is describing activities conducted by anything other than those possessing qualities you list: arrogance, ignorance and stupidity.

        And I think she makes a good point re people requiring capital to be financing these deals.

        • Tiresias 5.1.1.1

          @blue leopard, perhaps I misunderstood Maggie May’s comment, which I took to imply that JK and the Nats weren’t serious about tackling the drugs problem as the wealth behind it was ‘their own” – kind, I presume, rather than personally. There is certainly a great deal of money behind the kind of organised crime that underlies the illegal drug industry but I don’t think it has much in common with the upper-class financial crime JK et al represents.

          I’d go so far as to say JK was quite sincere when he promised to destroy the ‘drugs business’. It was part of his self-delusion that all he needed was the opportunity to apply his innate genius and self-evidently true beliefs to the world’s problems and lo, all would be resolved.

          His present very obvious lack of ambition and evident desire to settle for merely seeing out his term without tackling anything major suggests to me that he has at least the wit to know when he’s out of his depth. Many politicians lack even that talent – David Shearer for one.

          • SpaceMonkey 5.1.1.1.1

            “There is certainly a great deal of money behind the kind of organised crime that underlies the illegal drug industry but I don’t think it has much in common with the upper-class financial crime JK et al represents.”

            Hmm… I dunno… http://tinyurl.com/ck23bzr (HSBC Scandal – Independent.co.uk)

            It’s all about the money.

  6. Jilly Bee 6

    Oh, how I wish for those halcyon days of ‘Gallery’ when Brian Edwards used to have politicians fronting up to be made accountable for their actions – in prime time too.

  7. Blue 7

    In this, as it seems in everything else (magical tax cuts, bootcamps, jobs summit, roaring out of recession), John Key is all promise, no deliver.

    Don’t forget the national cycleway or the number of Kiwis migrating to Oz. Every single promise Key made has failed spectacularly and the media don’t give a shit.

    They probably don’t even remember that Key made some farcical stand on P a while ago when he thought it could win him some brownie points.

  8. fatty 8

    Wars on drugs have never really been about the drugs themselves…the goal is to justify privatisation, push for more surveillance and to create distractions from the causes of drug use.
    Sadly, JK’s war on P has been successful

    • tc 8.1

      +1 yes the slippery one is all about diversion and spin and his MSM mates just stand back and go bravo Johnny you so awesum.

      According to former senior narcs officers that war was lost a few decades back.

    • Murray Olsen 8.2

      I agree fatty. The evils of drugs are very useful when the Police want increased powers and decreased scrutiny, although terrorism now fills this role as well. Let’s copy Portugal instead of the failed US and A.

  9. Johninsg 9

    John Key turns ‘promise’ into a bad word.

    John Key gives ‘promise’ a bad name.

  10. Rich 10

    Will be expecting a “War on Q” shortly. No more that one trolley ahead in supermarkets, by decree.

    • SpaceMonkey 10.1

      Security at each check out to ensure that you are not stealing and have the appropriate number of items (if using the express line)… and as a result the queues get longer.

    • lprent 10.2

      More likely “The War on Qt”. Such a bad idea giving code away freely….

  11. I don’t think he was terribly serious about winning the “War on ‘P'” anyway. Winning it would involve addressing serious underlying causes that few politicians seem to have a clue about.

  12. Yoza 12

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and thus clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H.L. Mencken

    The ‘War on Drugs’ has been a criminal waste of time and resources, it past time we considered legitimizing the use of any and all narcotics by moving to a regime where consumers work with producers and those involved in treating addiction and drug related conditions to create distribution networks and clinics for the end users. Its the ‘middle men’ who make the money, if local communities had a monopoly on the distribution of everything, except probably marijuana, then they could control where to concentrate the majority of users and enjoy a healthy chunk of the narcotics revenue currently being usurped by clandestine distribution networks.

  13. Shorts 13

    The war on this particular drug was lost well before the key govt came into power… A failure by the then govt and police.

    There was a chance to contain this particular scourge and NZ botched it. Big time.

    P is the nastiest and most dangerous drug on our streets and destroys lives across all class boundaries.

    There’s no political wins or losses in this ‘battle’… Keys empty on utterence attack lines were a wtf at the time and now ring as hollow as all his other failures, but other than point scoring on a blog like this has no traction – focus on the big vote winning issues!

    • fatty 13.1

      There was a chance to contain this particular scourge and NZ botched it

      When and how could P have been contained?

    • Duzknow 13.2

      “There was a chance to contain this particular scourge and NZ botched it. Big time.”

      Please elaborate?

      Methamphetamine is now one of the most prevalent drugs in the world, as addictive as heroin or crack cocaine without the supply chain issues.

      How NZ could’ve ever been immunised from this epidemic, I really would like to know?

      • Shorts 13.2.1

        Education – if people knew how destructive this drug was it may never have found its way into some of the regions and homes it did. Thus nullifying the business opportunities others have now established

        I watched this drug arrive and slowly creep into and soon out of its initial market – party people. People that do and enjoy drug taking. It moved through this crowd and out to a less informed market over approx three years, education early on might have severely limited that initial honeymoon period.

        In the early days it wasn’t big business, wasn’t organised in manufacture and distribution and initially at least was a inner city problem. Our slowness to act gave the gangs etc the time to establish a market

        We could have been progressive in our approach to party pills – bzp based legal highs.

        We’d still have had a problem whatever we did but it might not have been as horrific as it has become.

        Course the most effective deterrent would be to change our stance on drugs full stop. But that’s not going to happen.

  14. Afewknowthetruth 14

    Major General Smedley Butler: “War is a racket.”

    If you want something to go on indefinitely or expand declare war on it….. war on terrorism, war on poverty….

  15. trickle down 15

    P is a relatively harmless drug with only 10 deaths a year attributable to its use!
    alcohol nearly $ 6 billion in community and work damage 500 to 600 deaths nationals policy roll over and ignore law commissions recommendations!
    Tobacco deaths 5,000 a year community damage $6 billion!
    Gambling $ 6 billion community damage!
    National could pay off the National debt in no time if it acted on wasteful addictions instead of that they demonize one drug play right into the gangs they were supposed to be getting tough on and do nothing about the real demons!

    • bad12 15.1

      The 100’s of women working in the sex trade while addicted and having the ‘man’ that introduced them to the drug in the first place sitting at home smoking their earnings out of the end of a P pipe hardly make it harmless…

      • Yoza 15.1.1

        Under prohibition the price of P is grossly inflated to accommodate the level of risk of every investment at each stage of the production and distribution network entails. If the production and distribution were controlled under the more democratic model I suggested in post 12 then the price would decrease dramatically and those sex trade workers wouldn’t need to generate so many P vouchers.

        It is in the institution of prohibition that is the primary tyranny which is trapping “The 100′s of women working in the sex trade while addicted…” blah, blah, blah.

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1

          P is a relatively harmless drug with only 10 deaths a year attributable to its use!

          This is stupidity. It’s accurate just like saying HIV doesn’t kill AIDS patients, pneumonia does.

  16. georgecom 16

    ‘war on drugs’
    ‘unrelenting focus on jobs’
    ‘higher standards’
    ‘wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones’
    ‘brighter future’
    ‘roaring out of recession’
    ‘tax switch’
    ‘catching up with australia’

    etc etc

    Is there an official National Party slogan or one liner that they have delivered on? I realise they have delivered on the ‘i’d love to see wages drop’ promise.

  17. infused 17

    If things like acid and e were not hit so hard, p wouldn’t be a problem. Since E got wiped out, it’s cut with everything under the sun. Instead of taking that, people turn to other things, ie P.

    I would welcome John Key taking on gangs to be honest. They don’t need to be here.

    • bad12 17.1

      P gets stepped on pretty much all the way down the chain to the ‘street supplier’, the quality of the stuff people buy depends a hell of a lot on how close to the ‘cook’ they are…

      • infused 17.1.1

        Yeah that’s not what I’m saying though. The war on drugs has created P.

        • Murray Olsen 17.1.1.1

          The war on drugs created P in a very direct way. One day the story of how it became so widespread in Aotearoa might come out. Some might even believe it.

        • bad12 17.1.1.2

          Lolz not so as far as the creation of P goes, the German army conquered much of Western Europe and rolled across the Russian plains fueled on that very drug,

          When the English finally bombed the factories which produced the stuff German tank crews were cooking the stuff up beside their parked up tanks,

          US troops were kept on the go by the very same thing as they raced the Russian armies to take Berlin, the stuff has been around for a while,

          I know what you are talking about as far as the current P epidemic goes and as i tried to get across to someone above in this post the best means of combating the all pervading influence of P and it’s associated big money is to provide to the addicts a maintainence dose through a registered addicts scheme thus killing off a large part of the demand…

          • Murray Olsen 17.1.1.2.1

            I should have been more precise. I meant P as a problem in our country. I used the name P as shorthand for this, because it was previously known by other names. As far as I’m concerned, it became a problem directly through actions taken by the Police, or at least some of them.
            BTW, I always thought benzedrine and dexedrine were used by the military, not methamphetamine. You want your soldiers to stay awake, without getting so paranoid they start shooting each other. Edit: it seems it was methamphetamine. Makes war seem even more obscene. It’s always good to learn something new 🙂

            • bad12 17.1.1.2.1.1

              Lolz i should have put a link in with that comment, would have saved you the search, i have never been able to find out if the Brit troops,or even our own, were given the stuff, if they were it was probably in the sugar or something,

              i always thought that the Benny;s came later as diet pills, lol, the old lady had a good supply of them from the Doc when we were kids, man was she dangerous to be around at times and of course the outside stimulus meant we never knew when to expect the bad buzz to explode,

              After a while the medical profession must have got the word from the medical journals or something,(maybe treating way too many kids with abrasions), and the Bennny’s were replaced with V’s,(hello mellow mum lolz),

              Yeah i have never after having listened in on enough conversations among the Grandparents and Parents thought of wars as anything but mass murder and it does make me wonder about the absolute flood of P around the western world right now,

              You are going to have to tell all about what you ‘know’ about the plods in relation to the current P trade at some time coz it’s unfair to tease…

              • Murray Olsen

                “Our side” took them too, or at least were given the pills. Bomber Command guys hated them because they made them want to urinate all the time, and the air at 20,000 ft over Germany wouldn’t have been kind to the family jewels, so they mainly just threw them away. I’ve been told that the troops going in on D-day were totally off their heads. One of my uncles was in Italy, but he’s never mentioned it. I’ll ask next time I see him.

                As to the other issue, the best advice I ever had was to not put anything in writing that could come back to bite me, so I won’t be writing the story here, at least not while I still have some life expectancy.

  18. Frank 18

    This tool hasn’t tackled A,B or C. How do you think he could get to P?

    • bad12 18.1

      Calling yourself a tool for lacking alphabetical skills is a little harsh don’t you think, you could always try re-enrolling at your local play-center i am sure they will have a spare dummy for you to suck on…

  19. BLiP 19

    .

    Hey! Maybe drug abuse is a health issue, not a crime issue? Just askin’.

    • Murray Olsen 19.1

      Funnily enough, the manuscript of the Misuse of Drugs Act says it is adminstered by the Department of Health. They seem to kick in a lot of doors, those Health Department bureaucrats 🙂

  20. Ben 20

    I always find it amusing how headlines like “20% increase in P convictions” are spun by the PR merchants as a victory for the war on drugs: If the war on drugs was working, wouldn’t the number of convictions be going down?

    We have a lot to learn from Portugal’s example. A decade has passed since the law changes were made and the statistics on use and addiction are very strong evidence that the Portugese approach works. If the American approach was working, we would expect the number of drug convicts to go down, drug related murders and violent crime to go down, etc etc….but it doesn’t. And yet we let people go on killing each other – and themselves – in the name of the entirely pointless and thoroughly wasteful War on Drugs.

    I wish people would wake up.

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  • Coleman – ‘overwhelmed by disinterest’ and ‘conked out’
    Today’s trenchant criticism of the Government’s health policy by Ian Powell the executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists must trigger action by the Minister, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Statement on Syria
    Like the rest of the world, I have been horrified at the chemical attack on innocent Syrians that led to the deaths of so many men, women and children,” says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “The deliberate attack on civilians as ...
    3 weeks ago
  • The hard truth about that soft drink ad
    I am relieved that Pepsi has pulled its ridiculous commercial that obscenely co-opted the #BlackLivesMatter movement. At the very least, it was an awkward failure that tried too hard to be something it could never be. At its worst, it ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 weeks ago
  • Journalism Matters: Interesting the public in the public interest
    Last week I launched two policies to support Kiwi journalism because as Bill Moyers put it, “the quality of democracy and the quality of journalism is deeply intertwined.” Journalism matters because it’s how we discover what’s happening in our world, ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago
  • Homeownership rate hits new low; KiwiBuild needed now
    The homeownership rate has fallen to just 63.1 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand’s newly released Dwelling and Household estimates. That’s down three per cent under National to the lowest level since 1951, confirming the need for Labour’s KiwiBuild ...
    3 weeks ago
  • OECD endorses Labour’s Future of Work approach
    An OECD report released today, highlighting the need for increased support for workers who are made redundant, is a strong endorsement of the direction of Labour’s Future of Work Commission, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “We welcome the OECD’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • The Government knows diddly squat about health funding
    Asked about the funding of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, the Associate Minister of Health was at sea today on the typhoid outbreak, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “When I asked Nicky Wagner who was responsible for the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Nicky Wagner blames disability workers for Govt’s funding failure
    Nicky Wagner displayed disrespect and sheer arrogance when she insulted disability support workers today, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Parata in denial over special education crisis
    Hekia Parata has her head buried in the sand when it comes to the pressure that schools are under as they attempt to cope with an increasing number of children with severe behavioural and other learning support needs, says Labour’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Data-for-funding move hits Privacy roadblock
    The Government’s much-criticised grab for private client data from social service organisations has suffered another defeat after the Privacy Commissioner’s damning report, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “This is a defeat for the Government’s plans to force social ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New research shows need for government-led house building
    Research by economist Shamubeel Eaqub shows the need for the government to lead the building of affordable starter homes, as would happen under Labour’s KiwiBuild policy, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago