Two Australian nationals have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from one of New Zealand's biggest drug busts.

The bust led to the discovery of 46kg of cocaine with an estimated value of $20 million during a Mount Maunganui property raid.

At the time it was reported the Class A drug had been secreted in the outer hull of a commercial vessel, the Maersk Antares, berthed at Mount Maunganui on October 31, 2017. It had just arrived from Chile.

Those who admitted their guilt are Benjamin John Northway, 35 and Matthew John Scott, 44.


Before their trial was to start in the High Court at Rotorua today they admitted a raft of charges relating to the bust including laundering millions of dollars.

Scott pleaded guilty to money laundering totalling $1,192,000, illegally importing cocaine, two charges of supplying the Class A drug, possessing 5kg of it for supply and belonging to an organised criminal group – a drug syndicate.

Northway admitted possessing 30kg of cocaine for supply, importing it and participating in the same organised criminal group as Scott.

Justice Grant Powell convicted both men and remanded them in custody for sentencing on August 2.