Stuff co.nz 19 January 2021
Family First Comment: Police have quietly shelved their annual cannabis eradication operation in a move that has blindsided staff and the police minister.
“New Zealanders voted to reject legalisation of cannabis – it’s an illegal drug and it causes significant harm in our communities. There’s a lot of organised crime involved in this. Police should explain what the justification is for not cracking down on this.” – National MP Simeon Brown
Police have quietly shelved their annual cannabis eradication operation in a major change that has blind sided frontline staff and the police minister.
For more than 20 years, officers have taken to the skies with the New Zealand Defence Force as part of a national operation to find back country cannabis plots.
However, Stuff can reveal top brass at Police National Headquarters, which provides more than $700,000 a year to fund hundreds of hours of flight time for helicopters and planes used in the operation, have decided to scrap it.
One of the reasons the operation has been grounded is a lack of appetite from the leaders of the 12 police districts.
That’s despite the operation netting tens of thousands of plants every year, and police previously saying it prevented hundreds of millions of dollars worth of socio-economic harm.
No official announcement about the change had been made to frontline staff before Stuff began asking questions about it on Tuesday.
However, police confirmed the move in a statement on Tuesday evening.
A spokeswoman said the decision was made jointly by staff at a national and district level.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/123986572/police-slash-annual-cannabis-operation-blind-siding-frontline-staff-and-officials?cid=app-iPhone