'Some have fewer human rights' - Bennett promises harsh crackdown on drug-dealing gang members

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1 NEWS

National has promised tough new measures will be introduced to combat methamphetamine and synthetic drugs if they win the election, including increased sentences.

The Police minister says if National is elected criminal gang members will be able to be searched by Police at any time at their discretion.
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National Party Leader Bill English and Police Minister Bennett announced the measures today at an event in Auckland, saying a total of $82m would be spent over four years tackling organised crime and drug dealing.

Ms Bennett said the measures would also fund more treatment for those addicted to drugs.

"We'll also increase Police powers to stop gang members from committing crimes in the first place, backing up our investment in more Police officers and smarter policing and our tougher sentencing of offenders," she said.

That $82m spend would include $40m into drug treatment and rehab, including 15000 addition patient drug treatment places, as well as community based treatment, prevention and education services provided by NGOs and Iwi.

Under National's new policy police will be able to search cars and houses of the most serious criminal gang members without a warrant.
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The remaining $42m would go towards cracking down on gangs and their supply of drugs like methamphetamine using various measures.

Ms Bennett said Police powers would gain the power to search vehicles and properties where "the most serious criminal gang members" were "at any time" in order to make sure they were not in possession of guns.

She said a nationwide register of gang members has long been in effect, and the people on that register are at the discretion of Police.

The number of drug dog teams would be doubled nationally, and they would be introduced at domestic airports, ferries and mail centres.

Bill English and Paula Bennett

Bill English and Paula Bennett.

Source: 1 NEWS

The penalty for manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabis would increase from a maximum two-tear jail term to a maximum of eight years behind bars - but no changes would be made to the charges for possession.

New obligations would be imposed on gang members on a benefit, which would force them to either justify expensive assets or lose their benefit.

A new charge would be introduced called "wilful contamination" for people who manufacture drugs inside rental properties.

Compulsory Police vetting would be required for all employees at port, mail centres and airport baggage centres - including contractors.

The new policy comes on top of the $503m already announced this year for 1125 more Police staff.

Ms Bennett called methamphetamine and gangs who sell them "a scourge" and said they are destroying people's lives for profit.

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