Key was on Q & A yesterday talking about his anti-P initiative. It seems like the big plan is for customs to implement some new SECRET technology or process to prevent importation and distribution of the drug:
JOHN KEY That’s right, so 40 dedicated Customs Officers with new intelligence devices, new techniques of looking at things, obviously I can’t spell those out for obvious reasons, but in the two week trial they took 13 million dollars worth of P of street value off the street, now 13 million dollars no longer there, the price went up. It speaks for itself if we do that 52 weeks of the year.
My guess is that the ban on over-the-counter sales is a preventative measure so that when the importation of precursors dries up it’s not possible to simply drive around the country from chemist to chemist stocking up on pseudoephedrine containing cold tablets. You could, I suppose, make an appointment with a couple of dozen new doctors a week and get separate prescriptions from all of them, but most of the doctors in the country are so overworked they won’t actually see any new patients.
PAUL Very quickly, how do we know in a year whether this is working?
JOHN KEY Well actually in one sense, the price of P will be much more expensive, because it’ll be taking supply off the market.
PAUL Which might drive up the intensity of the crime?
JOHN KEY Well what it will do though is it’s supply and demand, I mean ultimately that’s been the problem with P, I mean one of the reasons we didn’t have as big an addiction around cocaine and heroin was it was more expensive, harder to get, and couldn’t manufacture it.
I guess this might work, but I suspect the reason we have such a terrible problem with P is that New Zealander’s who are prone to drug abuse aren’t able to obtain cheap cocaine and heroin, or any of the other drugs that other western countries are flooded with.
My other concern is that the war on (some) drugs is also always the war on civil liberties:
JOHN KEY I mean firstly you’ve gotta change the law, so the Proceeds of Crime Bill that was passed through parliament recently actually changes the burden of proof, and quite clearly says unless you can prove that that money was legally gained, we’ll assume it was illegally gained. Secondly we’re giving the Police much greater surveillance powers, much greater ability to listen in, we’re changing quite a number of Acts of Parliament to do that. Now in one sense that’s quite heavy handed, we’re actually giving the Police a tool box which will allow them to go after not just the dealer or the cook, but actually the people at the head of the organised crime rings.