08 November 2011

Chinese immigration to New Zealand led to drug smuggling spike, says customs official

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A New Zealand immigration official has spoken out about links between the increase in the country's imported drug trade and changes to immigration policy.

New Zealand skilled migration

NZ immigration official blames Chinese immigration for a spike in illegal drug smuggling.

Easing restrictions on Chinese immigration to New Zealand is one factor in the growth of illegal drug smuggling, according to NZ Customs investigations manager Mark Day.

"With immigration laws changing to allow a lot of Chinese people in New Zealand, that also offers the opportunity for organised criminal figures from China to come here as well," Mr Day said.

The rate of illegal drug smuggling into New Zealand has doubled in the past ten years, and China has been the top supplier of drugs. In particular, Chinese nationals have been convicted of smuggling 'Contact NT' - a methamphetamine derivative which is only manufactured in China - into New Zealand.

At the same time, the rate od Chinese nationals being issued a New Zealand visa has grown rapidly over recent decades, rising from around 19,000 Chinese-born NZ residents in the 1980's to over 147,000 today.

In 2010, New Zealand immigration authorities intercepted 2000 drug smuggling operations

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