Police have busted a "major" drug lab believed to be in the process of manufacturing thousands of ecstasy pills for New Year's Eve music festivals.
Officers have secured an inner-city commercial premises in Wellington where specialist Police Clan Lab staff and Environmental Science and Research scientists have begun to examine the scene.
Processing the "major drug-manufacturing site" is expected to take several days.
"This is a full-scale commercial operation," Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch said.
"The lab includes powder, pills, chemicals and equipment including a pill press, which police believe has been used to manufacture ecstasy.
"Always of concern is the dangerous and volatile chemicals that are used.
"The chemicals present a very real threat to the wellbeing of our community.
"We believe it was set up to distribute thousands of pills at upcoming music festivals over the New Year period.
"The harm these drugs cause has a significant impact on our health services and can rip families apart."
Three 22-year-old men from the Hutt Valley and Wellington have been arrested and will appear in the Wellington District Court today on serious drug charges.
"We are determined to take a zero-tolerance approach to drug manufacturers and suppliers and use all our available resources to hold them to account," Mr Leitch said.