Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett will overhaul and lead a new government approach to tackle methamphetamine, it can be revealed.

This comes after a key intelligence gathering tool launched by former Prime Minister John Key to tackle methamphetamine has been scrapped - and the responsibility for the drug has been dropped from the prime minister's responsibilities.

The Bay's Te Tuinga Whanau Support Service executive director Tommy Wilson said the current system of criminalising people needed to change.

"[We don't need] task forces of police coming in," he said. "The secret is to reconnect them."


Mr Wilson said there were common factors between those in the region who had fallen on hard times.

"I've found the same set of circumstances and solutions with both homelessness and P users, and that is that they're disconnected people.

"Connection to your marae, your sporting group, your church. Put the resources into those organisations, and you'll get a change and answers.

He said there were unintended consequences of workplace testing - that people would be more likely to use those drugs that were quickly in and out of your system, including meth.

"We don't see stoners - unfortunately we see people who are smoking [synthetic cannabis] . . . The next drug of choice after synth is P. You're not out of it, like all the other drugs."

Work on the Government's meth progress report had been suspended earlier this year by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

In a written response to the Herald's inquiries, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Police Paula 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.

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

The nature of methamphetamine production and supply has shifted, according to experts. Far less is being manufactured in New Zealand after a crackdown on precursors. Instead the pure, finished product is being shipped in en masse. Seizures by Police and Customs increased from 31kg in 2013 to more than 900kg last year.

The current approach involves ministers, officials and data from six government agencies - Corrections, Health, Police, Justice, Customs and Te Puni Kokiri.

A Rotorua drug sector worker said the proximity to the Tauranga port increased the region's supply.

"From what I can gather . . . for every one person in Rotorua that's on it, there are two in Tauranga. That seems to be the balance."

"There appears to be a lot out there. And given that Tauranga's just down the road and there's a port there, the thinking would be that a lot of it is coming through that way," Mr Peni said.

"If you're really looking for it because you're desperate and you need it, you'll find it very easily."

In 2015, 10 per cent of police detainees who were users said methamphetamine was harder to get than in 2014. Almost 40 per cent said it was becoming easier to buy.