Addiction specialists have praised a police promise to hand out pamphlets instead of prison sentences to busted drug dealers' "hundreds" of clients.

Four men and one woman were arrested last week after police executed a number of search warrants as part of Operation Rosella. They face charges relating to supply and possession of methamphetamine.

As well as seizing methamphetamine, GBL, large amounts of cash and drug paraphernalia, Waitemata Police also identified hundreds of their clients and said they would be following up with them to provide prevention advice and local support services.

The Addiction Practitioners' Association Aotearoa New Zealand applauded the decision to provide help.


Executive director Sue Paton said it showed a "welcome softening approach by law enforcement that would go a long way towards reducing New Zealand's methamphetamine problem".

"We have no quarrel with coming down hard on those who supply large quantities of this drug and prey upon the weakness of those who have become addicted to it."

Paton said it indicated police saw addicted people as being exploited.

"This is especially so in light of continuing reports from around the country, backed by the experiences of our own practitioners, that methamphetamine is becoming cheaper and easier to obtain.

"Now more than ever we need to put resources into identifying people early who may be in danger of becoming addicted to this destructive drug lest we find ourselves engulfed in another methamphetamine epidemic."

Earlier this month, customs officials seized a $20 million haul of 20kg of meth hidden in spatulas.

The 250g packages of methamphetamine were hidden in the bottom of each 24-piece boxed set that arrived by air cargo from Hong Kong.

A 23-year-old Hong Kong man was charged in relation to the bust.