Methamphetamine is much easier to get in New Zealand than cannabis, new report suggests

The newly-released Massey University drug report shows methamphetamine is more easily accessible than cannabis in New Zealand.

When asked about availability, 14 per cent of cannabis users rated it as "very easy", while 54 per cent of meth users said the same.

Just 14 per cent of cannabis users could buy the drug within 20 minutes, while 31 per cent of meth users could do so.

Dr Chris Wilkins of Massey University said it comes down to supply.

"In the southeast Asian region there's a lot of production of methamphetamine and the reality is that's just flooding in to New Zealand," Dr Wilkins told TVNZ 1's Breakfast. 

"Cannabis, you have to grow it for two-three months, it's a very bulky drug, it has a distinctive smell so it's just [that] methampehtamine probably looks like a better option [for suppliers] in terms of concealment and being able to sell that drug."

Dr Wilkins noted that a lot of respondents to the survey said they would prefer to use cannabis, but were unable to get it, so used methamphetamine instead.

He was surprised to find the survey showing meth usage was highest outside of the main urban centres.

"It may well be that there are less job opportunities, more poverty, but also some of the places like Bay of Plenty has a large port so it's a natural part for smuggling, and Northland also has a coastline where a lot of methamphetamine is being seized, so those are all factors as well," Dr Wilkins said.

Some may be choosing meth over cannabis because meth stays in the body for a shorter time - a consideration when undergoing work drug testing.

Dr Wilkins said the report suggests police should be re-assessing how much resource they put into cannabis enforcement, and said there may need to be a "re-balancing" back towards meth.

"People could ask some really interesting question about how they want to spend their taxpayer dollars in terms of drug enforcement - is it on cannabis, or should it be focused on methampethamine only?

"For cannabis it seems to me they're in the ballpark of alcohol and tobacco, and we could really be doing something a bit more innovative than arresting people.

"The government has signaled they are going to have a referendum on cannabis by 2020, and I think that's a really good opportunity for New Zealanders to sit down and think about the issues and decide where they want to go with cannabis.

"That drug's been legalised in now eight states in the United States and there's a lot of innovation happening overseas in terms of how to control cannabis use."

Dr Chris Wilkins says the Massey University drug report shows meth is widely used, especially outside of urban centres. Source: Breakfast



Refugee quota increase a proud moment, Red Cross says, but now it's time to prepare

Jacinda Ardern's announcement yesterday that we will increase our yearly refugee intake to 1500 by 2020 was a proud moment for New Zealand, says Red Cross official Rachel O'Conner.

But there are some things we will have to do as a nation to prepare for the increase, which will result in New Zealand having doubled its intake in less than five years, she told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"We'll need people to respond, we're going to need people to volunteer, to donate items," she said. "But a lot of it is about...having welcoming communities."

Resettlement, she explained, is difficult - away from family and friends, without work and often having to learn a new language.

"Kiwis have this value of showing care and compassion, and that is what helps build that sense of belonging," said Ms O'Conner, who serves as national migration programmes manager for the humanitarian organisation.

That's 500 extra people who'll be making New Zealand home annually. Source: 1 NEWS

Under the Prime Minister's plan, six new resettlement communities will be established so that existing ones in New Zealand aren't over-burdened. The towns, however, haven't yet been chosen.

"We're going to be looking for councils and community groups to put up their hands and say, 'Yup, we want to be one of the new six'," Ms O'Conner said.

Ms O'Conner described yesterday's announcement as "a great start". But with 1.4 million people in desperate need of resettlement, "we're seeing unprecedented needs globally at the moment", she added, explaining that the Government also needs to take another good look at foreign aid and peace building activities.

Even after yesterday's announcement, New Zealand is far from being a leader in terms of refugee intake numbers.

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

"But we are leaders in the terms of the quality of resettlement that we provide," she said, telling the story of a mum who had carried her disabled teen son on her back for his entire life because they didn't have access to health care in their previous country.

After arriving in Auckland, the boy was given a wheelchair and it changed both of their lives, O'Conner said.

"She kept saying, 'I can't believe I don't have to carry him anymore'," she recalled.

Jacinda Ardern’s announcement yesterday means six new settlement locations will be in the works, Rachel O’Conner told Breakfast. Source: Breakfast


'What’s up Muzza' - is it weird to call your parents by their first name?

What do you call your parents - mum and dad, or Geoff and Pam?

The idea some people call their parents by their first name was a hot topic on Breakfast this morning, with Hayley Holt saying it was a bit weird calling her parents by their given names.

‘I’d feel a bit odd, ‘hey Robin, what’s up Muzza?’”

Many viewers said calling parents by their given names was disrespectful, with one viewer saying she had earned the title of mum.

Another said when children were older, it could be a discussion families could have together.

Newsreader Scotty Morrison said in Te Reo Māori there were “beautiful terms” for older members of the whanāu.

“As our people get older they get more and more respect because of the life they have had, the life experience, the knowledge that they’ve gained," he said. 

“It’s important in Māori culture to have that respect for the older generation.”

Some Breakfast viewers thought it was disrespectful not to be called mum or dad. Source: Breakfast


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Police on the hunt after man seriously hurt in Hamilton shooting

A man has sustained serious injuries after being shot in Hamilton last night

Police responded to Derby Street, Nawton at 10:25pm after receiving reports of a shooting.

An investigation is underway to establish exactly what has occurred and inquiries are being made to find the offenders, who left the scene in a car.

The man is in a stable condition in a high dependency unit at Waikato Hospital.  

A scene examination on Derby Street will continue this morning.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

Police are keen to talk to anyone who was in the area last night and may have information of interest to the investigation.

The incident took place in Nawton at 10.25pm yesterday – the offender fled the scene by car. Source: Breakfast


Record number of happy punters as two win Powerball, 40 win Lotto first division

There were a lot more ecstatic Kiwi punters than usual last night, with two lucky Powerball players winning $2.5 million each and a record 40 players winning Lotto First Division.

Never before in the Lotto's 31-year history have that many winners been announced in a single draw. The 38 first division winners (without Powerball) will take home $25,000 each.

The winning Powerball tickets were sold at a Countdown supermarket in Hastings and at New Brighton Lotto & Discounter in Christchurch.

It follows a winning $7.2 million Powerball draw just a week earlier, sold from a Pak'n Save in Silverdale. As of yet, however, no one has come forward to claim it.

Some winners might be slightly disappointed by their haul from last night’s draw, while two others claimed over $2.5 million. Source: Breakfast