Anti-drug, crime plan for New Zealand sport

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 18:15 29/11/2013
Murray McCully
Fairfax NZ
TAKING ACTION: Sports Minister Murray McCully.

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The Government is creating a high-powered agency to guard against organised crime and drugs in sport.

The agency will include police, the Serious Fraud Office, the Organised Financial Crime Agency and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

However, the Government has ruled out an investigation similar to an Australian government inquiry that found widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport and links with organised crime.

In a statement today, Sport and Recreation Minister Murray McCully said a confidential report found no evidence of systemic use of performance-enhancing substances or the involvement of organised crime in New Zealand sport.

He refused to release the report, saying it contained sensitive information provided by the Australian Crime Commission.

It would be naive to think New Zealand was insulated from the problems identified in Australia and that was why it was taking pre-emptive steps to safeguard New Zealand's athletes and "clean sporting reputation", McCully said.

Among the concerns raised by the report were the international black market for performance and image-enhancing drugs, such as peptides. Such drugs were being intercepted by New Zealand Customs and Medsafe, largely due to their use by the body building and body beautiful industries.

In 2012 consignments of suspected prescription medicines had been intercepted by Customs, including about 200 consignments of performance and image-enhancing drugs.

McCully said a senior officials inter-agency group had been established to "collectively lead and co-ordinate the response to risks to the integrity of New Zealand.

The group would coordinate the response to risks to the integrity of New Zealand sport, including doping, match-fixing, and any criminal involvement in sport or other corrupt activity.

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