Police cannabis busts have seen more than 2500 arrests, including 207 in Canterbury, and the seizure of drugs with a potential worth of $130 million.
A total of 327 firearms were seized nationwide, including 45 in Canterbury - the most for any region.
Canterbury police netted 33,000 grams of cannabis and nearly 5500 plants.
Detective Inspector Paul Berry, covert operations manager at police national headquarters, said cannabis growers and dealers were likely to be feeling the pinch after six months of co-ordinated action against them.
Police had found 280 kilograms of plant material, worth an estimated $5.6m, and destroyed more than 130,385 plants and seedlings with a potential street value at maturity of up to $130m.
Police found 248 children present in drug-dealing houses during the six-month operation.
Operation National spanned all 12 districts for the past six months to target illicit drugs.
Other drug seizures included 1.4kg of methamphetamine, 321 LSD tabs and 4150 ecstasy pills.
There were 327 firearms seized from drug houses and $675,533 in cash.
Cash and assets were also seized under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act, including:
- 14 homes worth an estimated $4.6m.
- Eight cars worth $260,000.
- One boat worth $40,000.
- Nine bank accounts worth about $353,000.
- Bonus bonds/shares worth about $22,000.
Police said a recent United Nations report found New Zealand's consumption of cannabis was among the highest in the world.
Using a 2009 estimate that assessed cannabis caused nearly $12,000 worth or harm per kilogram, police estimated $350m worth of harm had been saved to the New Zealand economy through its seizures.
"One of the most concerning aspects of the lives of drug offenders is that they can put their children in harm's way every day," Berry said.
"In cases where police believed the children to be at high risk, CYF [Child, Youth and Family] was notified of the situation."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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