New Zealand police have dialled back on their annual aerial operation to find back-country cannabis plots after more than 20 years.
In previous years, officers have taken to the skies with the New Zealand Defence Force as part of a national operation to find the plots.
However, Stuff has revealed bosses at Police National Headquarters, which funds flight time for the helicopters and planes used in the operation, have decided to scrap it, citing a lack of appetite from the leaders of New Zealand’s 12 police districts.
A spokeswoman said the decision was made jointly by staff at a national and local level.
“With the increased harm in many communities arising from other drugs, particularly methamphetamine, a one-size-fits-all annual aerial national cannabis operation no longer represents the most appropriate deployment of police resources,” she said.
The NZ Drug Foundation welcomed the move and said it hoped police would spend more time targeting more harmful substances.
Executive director Sarah Helm added: “While we pour resources into cannabis, methamphetamine is wreaking havoc on communities. We hope this changed approach represents a shift in police prioritisation.”