WELLINGTON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa on Tuesday said the Customs seized more than 1,016 kg of drugs in the first six months of 2019, preventing an estimated 1 billion NZ dollars (about 660 million U.S. dollars) of potential harm to communities.
"Illegal drugs are a scourge on our society and it's very concerning that the 434 kilograms of methamphetamine that has been seized in the first six months of this year, is more than the record amount of 427 kilograms methamphetamine seized in 2017," Salesa said in a statement.
"Also of concern is that in the past six months Customs has seized four times more MDMA/ecstasy than was seized in all of last year," she said.
Disrupting the supply of these harmful substances to communities is part of the government's health-based approach to drugs, the minister said, adding more resources have been put into addiction, detoxification and residential care services for New Zealanders struggling with drug and alcohol issues.
In recent years, Customs has significantly increased its focus on preventing drugs from being sent to New Zealand. This offshore collaboration with international law enforcement partners has resulted in around 230 kg of drugs being stopped from reaching New Zealand in the first six months of 2019, and has prevented an estimated 260 million NZ dollars (about 171 million U.S. dollars) of further potential social and economic harm to the country, according to the minister.
"Illicit drugs devastate families and communities across the country, with some of our most vulnerable regions the hardest hit," she said.