An upcoming government overhaul of its methamphetamine policy is much needed, says Hawke's Bay gang commentator and anti-P campaigner Denis O'Reilly.

This comes after a key intelligence gathering tool launched by John Key to tackle methamphetamine was scrapped and ministerial oversight of the drug dropped from the Prime Minister's responsibilities.

Work on the annually-produced methamphetamine progress report was suspended earlier this year by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, with no specific reason given.

Last week it was revealed Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett would be taking a new approach to the drug, which has seen a resurgence in supply.


Black Power life member and social policy activist Denis O'Reilly said there were initial reductions in use and supply following the initiation of meth action plan in 2009.

However, recently the pendulum has swung back.

"I thought we'd got it back in the box and we were doing alright," Mr O'Reilly said.

But have we?

"No, no.

"We've had a surge of methamphetamine supply, and that's witnessed by the seizures ... We all know there's plenty around."

The government's annual report, delayed since December last year, is unlikely to be released. Previous reports showed more meth was being seized by Police and Customs, but interviewed police detainees said it was becoming easier to get.

Source: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Source: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr O'Reilly said John Key, who initiated and fostered the P action plan, had done a good job in his time, along with the agencies involved.


However, new shifts in the landscape - such as decreasing domestic manufacture and an understanding of the underlying social issues behind drug use - required a change in approach.

"We need to reshape the paradigm," Mr O'Reilly said.

"We're not going to beat it through the conventional treatment sector ... They have an extraordinarily important role, but it's getting at, 'Okay, what are the underlying drivers of this stuff? And then, how can we collaborate at a community-by-community level?'"

In a written response to enquiries, Ms Bennett confirmed she would lead the revamp.

"I will be taking over responsibility for this programme as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Police. Details will be released in due course," she said.

"Cabinet has decided to take a broader approach to tackling the issue."

A spokeswoman for Ms Bennett said she was looking forward to taking a new angle at the issue.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said he wasn't concerned responsibility had dropped from the prime minister to the deputy, but said the disappearance of the report worried him.

"It is a concern. You would hate to think the interest and the concern from the government is waning to the point that they don't think it's necessary to put out annual reports on what is such a significant diver of crime.

"Just because they've got some plans to revamp things, that shouldn't be at the expense of saying where we're at and what's being done currently.

"The public have a right to know what's going on. I would like to think you could expect some timelines around what the changes are going to be - without that there's no surety that something's actually being done."