The unrepentant ringleader jailed for more than 28 years for his role in the largest amount of methamphetamine cooked in New Zealand said he would "do it all again".
Brownie Joseph Harding supervised the production of 6.5kg of methamphetamine on six occasions- the largest single case of meth manufacturing to have come before the courts in New Zealand- at a house in Taipuha Rd at Waiotira, between Whangarei and Paparoa, from September to December 2014.
The 40-year-old Head Hunters' gang member was yesterday sentenced in the High Court in Whangarei to 28.5 years in prison.
He will have to serve 10 years before he is eligible for parole.
The father of seven pleaded guilty in June last year to six charges of manufacturing meth, two of conspiring to supply meth, one of possession of meth for supply, one of supplying pseudoephedrine and one of participating in an organised criminal group.
Justice Simon Moore dismissed his application on Wednesday to vacate guilty pleas on three charges of manufacturing meth after Harding argued he had extracted only ephedrine in the first two manufacturing instances and that he pleaded guilty to the manufacturing charges by reason of a mistake of law.
Flanked by about 25 family and friends, including his mother, Harding waved to them as he was led away after the sentencing.
Justice Moore said Harding claimed he hated meth but had no qualms about supplying the drug to others.
"It is concerning such is your lack of insight that you told the probation officer that you didn't think being part of the gang impacted on your actions.
"But even more concerning is your total lack of remorse for what you have done despite your comment that you hate meth. You insist you did nothing wrong and even more startling you're recorded as saying you'd do it all again.
"That is a breathtaking statement which unsurprisingly led the probation officer to conclude your risk of reoffending is high and your risk of harm to others is also high.
"You are not and have never been addicted. You've never been a user of the drug. This means the only reason you embarked on this exercise was to accumulate wealth.
A forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Harding said he fulfilled the criteria of an anti social, narcissistic personality and alcohol abuse disorders.
Crown solicitor Mike Smith said police were to be congratulated for the extent, care, and quality of their investigation that uncovered quantities of meth manufacturing which were "unprecedented" in the country's history.
He submitted a sentence of life in jail was the most appropriate outcome.
Defence lawyer Mark Edgar argued against a sentence of life imprisonment, saying Harding was a cog in a "much bigger wheel" that was run from Auckland.
Justice Moore said Harding's lack of previous drug-related offending and his guilty pleas made a sentence of life imprisonment inappropriate but by a fine margin.
Harding has 43 previous convictions, mostly for driving offences.
Justice Moore said Harding was the unchallenged leader who was referred to by others involved in the drug manufacturing as the "boss".
Detective Sergeant Andy Dunhill said the sentence would no doubt be a significant blow to the criminal fraternity.