Thursday, January 7, 2010

ZenTiger Drugs in my pocket


[Stick around for the music treat from 1979 at the end of the post]

There was a 'good news' article in the DomPost today (and on Stuff) about how successful police have been in busting P Labs because of their new legal powers granted by the National Government during 2009.

Those legal powers revolve around power to seize assets where the Police believe the assets may have been funded by drug activity. Here's the money quote: Police are using new powers to target the P drug trade, making almost 400 arrests in two months.

Sounds like these new laws are really helping then don't they?

Except, as I read the article I could see no actual evidence offered that the new law was helping. Firstly, the law only came into effect in December, so to talk about the whole year is irrelevant. Secondly, even though there were a string of arrests at the end of the year, that just indicates the usual burst of activity following months of planning by Police.

The article read like a National Party Press Release aimed at convincing the public the new law wasn't damaging anyone's individual freedom, a bit like the various lightweight studies supposedly proving the anti-smacking law isn't doing any damage.

When drilling into the actual figures, this is what we see that the total for 2009, bolstered by a burst of activity over the last couple of months of the year was a total of 137 P Labs busted.

That lead the Police Minister to declare:

Judith Collins said, with new powers and increased resources, police had wasted no time in arresting those manufacturing and selling methamphetamine.

Contrast that to the number of P Labs found the previous year when the police were powerless: 135. Wow, an extra 2 labs uncovered. I wonder how the law change helped with this increase of two labs? Here's where one of them came from:

Police discovered a P-lab in Ngaruawhaia on Tuesday after going to the house to search for a man on unrelated matters. .

Wow again! Who would have thought that the law would help even in the area of "unrelated matters" (a suspected burglary and skipping bail)? And what about the P Lab bust worth millions back in August 2009? Police were expecting to find stolen goods at the property so the P lab was a surprise find.

Not bad. Just like the annual P Lab figures. Let's go back to 2006: 211 labs busted. In 2005: 204 labs busted. 181 the previous year, and 202 the year before that. All much higher than the 137 for 2009.

It's great that the Police are putting effort into busting P Labs. However, I can't see from this article how the new law is helping. Maybe it is, but rather than this blatant National Party electioneering piece, I'd prefer to see some relevant facts and figures that can be tied directly to the new legislation, including how much in assets have been seized, and who from, and if any of those seizures are under dispute.

When the government increases it's power over citizens with somewhat arbitrary powers of asset seizure, it's important to have complete transparency over use of such power, not lightweight party press releases.

--ZenTiger

4 comment(s):

mojo said...

Indeed ...
& there is so much of this spurious 'light weight' stuff around these days it leaves one in despair.

Ozy Mandias said...

Zent Tiger your analysis is good but you didn't research enough into the 'P' as a substance. 'P' compared to last year 'P' has been reclassified under the National government.

It now includes
Possession
Plastic surgery
Pot
Playing the spice girls CD to loud

That is how the Police have arrested 400 people in the last 2 months.

anton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ZenTiger said...

Let me guess Anton - you didn't read the post, you didn't pick the fact you were in New Zealand (not a state of the USA BTW) and you are advertising drug rehab services using a fictitious number (1-800-555-5555) and an invitation for people to enter their personal contact details, yet the website provides absolutely no contact details what so ever, which indicates that you are more likely to be a scam web site.

Sorry, comment deleted.

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