More than a tonne of methamphetamine has been confiscated in a year of record drug interceptions by New Zealand Customs.

Imports of the party drug MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, have soared more than 600 per cent, a staggering increase from last year's figures.

Customs manager of investigations Bruce Berry said large-scale criminal organisations were oversupplying drug markets internationally in a bid to secure a monopoly and drive down prices.

"They have no concern for the misery it's causing our lower socio-economic groups in our society. In fact, it's now spreading out right across society."

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A close up of a large ice-like methamphetamine crystal hidden inside golf cart batteries and found by Customs in February. Photo / Supplied
A close up of a large ice-like methamphetamine crystal hidden inside golf cart batteries and found by Customs in February. Photo / Supplied

An interception involving more than 400kg of meth hidden inside 60 electric motors was among the stack of confiscations that really shocked Berry.

The bundle of meth, valued at $235 million, was shipped to New Zealand with eight 1kg bundles stashed inside each electric motor.

"We know that there have been previous importations by this group. We recovered in excess of 510kg all up from our inquiries into that one."

Each of the 60 electric motors concealed 8kg of methamphetamine on average. Photo / Supplied
Each of the 60 electric motors concealed 8kg of methamphetamine on average. Photo / Supplied

Never in his 36 years in Customs had he expected to see an importation of that scale or size, Berry said.

The interception figures in New Zealand were part of a concerning international trend, he said.

It was comparable to the situation in Kawerau, where the Mongrel Mob flooded the town with drugs in an attempt to control it, he said.

And the methods of concealment have become far more complex, with drugs stowed inside hundreds of small plastic stacking pallets in one shipment from Mexico.

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Most of the drug seizures, around 70 per cent, occurred at the mail centre this year.

Smaller quantities of substances - ranging from deep-web internet orders to Canadian cannabis - would be smuggled into the mail centre on a regular basis.

Customs kept a close eye on emerging trends, even if smaller-scale imports did not always justify a full-scale investigation, Berry said.

"Geo-spatially are they all going to the same area? ... Are they meeting the same criteria around how they're addressed or packaged? So, we think there's one group behind them."