"We're coming for your freedoms, we're coming for your money and your assets" - that's the message Police Minister Stuart Nash had for organised criminals operating in the Bay of Plenty.
Nash, along with Police Commissioner Mike Bush, put organised criminals on notice at the launch of Tauranga based National Organised Criminal Group taskforce at Tauranga police station today.
Nash and Bush said tackling organised crime in the Bay of Plenty region had been ramped up with the establishment of taskforce of six "really skilled" detectives and three asset recovery staff working full-time on this sole goal.
"We're coming for your freedoms, we're coming for your money and your assets," Nash said.
"We're putting these people on notice that they we won't tolerate them peddling their drugs, and peddling their misery and we're going to stop the incredible harm they cause to communities in New Zealand," Nash said.
Bush said the taskforce was strategically based in Tauranga, and underlined police's intent to help create safer communities by tackling organised crime, methamphetamine production and importation which had become a significant problem in this area.
"Organised criminals with transnational ties are operating in the region," he said.
"This taskforce will target the connections of local criminals to networks in Auckland and Waikato, which are known to have a national reach.
"As well as targeting the criminal side of organised crime. Police will also be focusing on the business side of offenders criminal activities by investigating the financial crime that goes alongside drug supply," he said.
"Criminals do not deal in drugs because they like drugs, they do it because they like the money it brings them," Bush said.
"Stopping criminals from putting their own profit-making activities ahead of the welfare of our communities is what we are here to do, it's our job."
"We know that some organised criminals seem relatively unconcerned about going to jail for lengthy periods of time, but when we restrain their assets and take away their money and their asset base, it really hurts them and that's a good thing," he said.
"It ultimately takes away the incentive for them to commit these crimes," Bush said.
Bush said organised crime groups across New Zealand were well connected and when there was money to be made they were willing to put their differences aside.
"We want to ensure no-one accumulates wealth by being in the business of crime."
Since 1 July 2017 Police have restrained $34.42m in assets and asset forfeitures totalled $10.49m, police earlier said.