A former Tauranga drug kingpin has been denied parole after allegedly sneaking chocolate into fellow prison inmates' meals.

Gary Read, 50, is five years into an 11-year sentence he received in August 2013 on 74 charges relating to his role as the mastermind of a large-scale drug importing operation.

The former director of NZ Party Pills NZ smuggled drugs from Thailand to cook up millions of dollars worth of methamphetamine.

A parole hearing was held on February 13 at the high-security Auckland South Corrections Facility.


According to the written decision of the board, Read "incurred a misconduct" on January 2 this year, a public holiday.

"Mr Read was alleged to be the instigator of putting chocolate in the meals.

"The chocolate was hiding under rice and vegetables."

As a result of the incident, Read lost his job in the kitchen and his eligibility for release to work programmes. He was taken out of the self-care unit.

Other incidents from the past year which counted against Read included threatening an officer, ranting abuse, giving tools to another prisoner and having a bad attitude.

He was said to have been compliant, respectful, helpful and focused on other occasions.

Read's lawyer told the board the alleged misconduct had been dismissed and Read was in talks with the prison about a possible return to self-care.

The lawyer said Read felt he had been punished, had made the most of his time in prison and had stayed out of trouble for a long time.


The board was concerned that, given Read's criminal history, the seriousness of his offending and the number of recent incidents in prison, Read was not on track with his rehabilitation and remained an undue risk to the community.

Read would be considered for parole again in October.

In the meantime, the board encouraged him to get his behaviour under control.