Key Points:

The Government wants tougher rules on the sale of cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephedrine as part of its suite of proposals to crack down on P.

Police Minister Judith Collins said yesterday officials will report to her in March about possible options for tightening the rules.

Ms Collins did not want to pre-judge the report, which would have to take into account privacy and cost implications, plus the impact on pharmacies.

However, she indicated New Zealand was unlikely to go as far as the United Kingdom, which was considering whether to make pseudoephedrine a prescription-only medicine.

"When people have a cold, they don't want to have to go to a doctor to get a prescription. Also, the added pressure it puts on to GPs may not be what people are looking for."

She said other international measures would be assessed for the report. Australia had a nation-wide electronic database which raised an alert if the same person bought the medication often. Pharmacists were able to refuse to sell to a person who tried to buy more than one pack in a day, and could refer it to police.

In October, the Waitemata District Health Board voted to ask the Government to make pseudoephedrine a pharmacist-only drug and to install a national computer database of all buyers, similar to Australia.

It can be sold in pharmacies in small packets or slow-release formulations without a prescription or pharmacist's okay.

A voluntary code allows pharmacies to record the names of buyers and ask for photo id.

Work by the ministries of Health, Justice and Police began last year after the-then Labour government asked for options as part of its organised crime strategy. In a Cabinet paper last year, former justice minister Annette King said current efforts had not had an impact on the price, purity or availability of methamphetamine.

Ms Collins' said police had estimated up to 70 per cent of methamphetamine precursors were sourced locally and the P industry was worth an estimated $1.2 billion. It had grown despite reclassification of meth as a Class A drug and voluntary restrictions on the sale of medications, which contained precursors.

Any future moves would have to consider privacy issues - which could be raised by installing any database of buyers - as well as the costs and impact on pharmacies.

National will also investigate whether P dealers and manufacturers should be denied the chance of getting electronic bail or home detention.

A spokesman for justice minister Simon Power said the government was also aiming to introduce law changes giving police greater powers against gangs before Christmas.

They include greater powers for surveillance of gangs, to "storm" and pull down gang fortifications, and the ability for courts to impose harsher sentences for criminals who are gang members.

Mr Power has said the pre-Christmas legislation will include other law-and-order measures of repealing new bail laws, introducing harsher sentences for crimes against children and introducing on-the-spot domestic protection orders for police handling domestic violence cases.

National's "boot camps" initiative for repeat youth offenders is expected to take longer and is likely to be done through changes to the Child Youth and Families Act.

The initiative is another option for Youth Court sentencing and consists of a year-long programme of education, training and mentoring follow-up with a stint in an "army-style" correction camp as part of it.