Police plan crackdown on Gathering drugs
The police have serious concerns about apparent widespread drug use at this year's Gathering, and are considering having a higher profile at next year's event as a result.
Senior Sergeant Grant Andrews of Motueka police said his concerns were raised yesterday by a Nelson Mail article outlining a survey on drug use at the Gathering.
The Gathering organiser Murray Kingi could not be reached today for comment.
The survey results showed that 93 out of 100 people questioned admitted taking some type of drug at the four-day dance party.
There were also at least two people openly selling cannabis at the Gathering.
"If the drug use is as widespread and open as that, then we certainly have concerns," Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews said police would have to consider having a larger presence at next year's event, should it stay in the region, and he would be discussing the matter with District Commander Grant O'Fee.
Police would look at having a presence at the gate next year to deter drug dealers and those in possession of drugs.
They could also be on hand to assist security staff and to identify known drug dealers, he said.
The survey should especially be a concern to parents who let teir teenagers attend, he said.
Police would "have to be naive" to think that drug use did not occur at the Gathering, but it had been such a problem-free event in the past it had not been necessary to have a high profile.