National is defending its hardline new anti-drug measures, saying the serious criminals and gang members they target have "fewer human rights than others".

The party has today unveiled plans to reduce drug addiction by introducing hardline anti-gang measures and funding more places in rehabilitation centres.

National leader Bill English and police spokeswoman Paula Bennett announced the $82 million package at a drug treatment centre in Te Atatu.

Of that total, half would be spent on creating 1500 additional drug treatment places and funding education and prevention services.


The other half would be invested in a crackdown on gangs and drug dealers.

That includes giving police new powers to search the cars and houses of gang members at any time to check for firearms.

There would also be higher penalties for manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabis - from two years to eight years. Penalties would not rise for possession.

There would also be new measures to stamp out drug distribution domestically and internationally. Compulsory police vetting will be introduced for anyone working at ports, mail centres or airport baggage centres.

Drug dogs will also be introduced at domestic airport terminals, not just international terminals.

Speaking to reporters, Bennett said she had been advised the new search powers would "stretch " human rights laws.

But she said that they would only be applied to serious criminals, adding that this group of people had "fewer human rights than others".

Drug addiction was both a criminal and health issue, Bennett said.


The 1500 new addiction places would nearly double existing capacity, she said.

The policy announcement was made at the Higher Ground treatment centre, which has about 50 patients. The waiting list for rehabilitation is currently around 14 weeks at the centre.

The centre said that they had seen an increase in admissions for meth use.