A criminal culture expert says Asian drug syndicates are making tens of millions of dollars bringing drug precursors into New Zealand, and then laundering the money through casinos or offshore.
Professor Greg Newbold of Canterbury University this morning told TVNZ's Breakfast programme that gang-level turf wars over drug distribution should be of no real concern to the public, as any violence or conflict would likely be dealt with internally.
He said gang members are an easy target, but were not the ones really creating the problem.
"They’re easy to see and people are scared of them because they look intimidating and so it's easy to get public opinion against the gangs," Mr Newbold said.
Professor Newbold stressed that police are definitely doing their jobs when it comes to drug busts and enforcement, but said gangs are not the biggest players in New Zealand's drug market.
"In actual fact, the big money is being made by the well-dressed, very polite Asian criminals who often launder their money through the casino or offshore.
"At the top level, the gangs might be making $100,000 ... the Asians are making tens of millions.
"The precursors come in and they sell the precursors to the local criminals who manufacture the methamphetamine."