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Safer, Drug Free Environments


Highlight on: The Meth Epidemic and Food Safety

March 2022

Since 2009 NZ Detector Dogs have been screening workplaces, educational facilities and businesses of every description with our team of highly trained drug detector dogs. Our clients vary from apartments to warehousing, with a multitude of clients in Primary Industries such as orchards, pack houses, cool stores and a wide range of food processing, packing & manufacturing plants. Our work is varied, interesting and covers the whole of NZ.

While the need to keep illegal drugs out of the worksite because of the danger associated with the use of drugs and obligations under Health & Safety legislation seems obvious, one of the lesser known- but equally important requirements is in relation to food safety and the Food Act.

In 2021 the greatest number of urgent requests for our services came from clients in the food sector. The most common problem – drugs were found dropped in the worksite or production areas and posed a threat to the safety of the products during the manufacturing or packing process.

The worst example - a 10 gram bag of methamphetamine dropped in the processing area of export food processing plant. Similar occurrences have happened in fruit pack houses, dairy production & food manufacturing plants. These incidents have the potential to create an economic disaster for the companies, their clients and in the bigger picture for NZ.

While dropping drugs in an area where food hygiene is paramount may seem a random and uncommon occurrence, the number of urgent callouts from clients would suggest it is far more common and widespread than you would think.

The reason lies in the habits and nature of drug use – in particular methamphetamine or ‘P’. P is carried close to the user, somewhere safe, quick to access, easily concealed and can’t be stolen. P is usually concealed in underclothing – and is the drug most commonly found dropped in a workplace.

Despite workers being provided with hygienic clothing for the processing areas or the appropriate PPE for food safety – these measures are not adequate enough to mitigate the risk of drugs being carried in underclothing as many of our clients have discovered.

The potential harm that even a point bag (.1g) of pure methamphetamine coming in contact with export food goods could have posed for our client, their industry and the NZ Export industry would have been incalculable.

How Widespread is the Methamphetamine Epidemic?

Recent Parliamentary documents published show the growing increase and trends in relation to Methamphetamine use based on the 2019/2020 NZ Health Survey:


  • 1.1 % of the population, 45,000 adults, used amphetamine in the last 12 months. (Methamphetamine is the most commonly used)
  • Convictions for methamphetamine possession/use increased from 1,220 in 2011 to 3,404 in 2020.
  • Convictions for methamphetamine dealing & trafficking increased from 953 in 2010 to 1,566 in 2020.
  • Methamphetamine was an underlying or contributory cause of 95 deaths in 2016,

NZ Police & Customs Methamphetamine seizure statistics show that 3kg seized in 2003 rose to 941kg in 2016. Meth to the value of $30 million was intercepted at the borders in 2016 rising to $250 million in 2018

The NZ Police National Wastewater Testing Programme results for the second quarter of 2020 showed that over the April to June 2020 period:

  • An average of 9.9 kgs of methamphetamine was consumed per week nationally.
  • The Bay of Plenty, Eastern and Northland police districts had the highest per-capita methamphetamine use.
  • In a targeted Police operation carried out in Kawerau Police found 600 active Meth users in a community of 6,000 people.
  • The results showed an overwhelming dominance of methamphetamine with nationwide use equating to $1 billion a year and an estimated $20 million per week in social harm.
  • In The New Zealand Illicit Drug Harm Index 2020: Research report the total cost of personal harm to people who use drugs in New Zealand is now estimated at $813.1 million, with most of that cost relating to premature death at $484.8 million. Of the illicit drugs included, methamphetamine caused the most harm at $404.5 million. 016 An increase from 2016 in reported deaths from 75 to 107.

Fast forward to 2022 –these stats will have only increased and doesn’t include the cost of harm to businesses.

What does this mean for businesses and in the food industry?

The demand for Methamphetamine in NZ is increasing at epidemic rates and is now having a very real impact on everyday lives of New Zealanders. It is a drug that crosses all social boundaries like no other drug and to afford the use of this drug you need to have a regular source of income.

How does Methamphetamine get into a workplace, factory or in the food processing areas?

Simple – it is carried in by people, by users or people wanting to supply others.

The best weapon against drugs in your workplace is deterrence – use it!

With over 12 years dealing with this issue, NZ Detector Dogs have developed specific gate screening processes to target the drug risk for clients who have an interest in food safety - for the products they are producing, their suppliers and their consumers. It is our aim to identify and stop this drug hazard entering a worksite.

Over time the effectiveness of a regular/random gate screening programme with the drug dogs becomes obvious when someone carrying drugs will see our drug dog teams and simply turn around and leave the site. The reason is simple – they do not want to lose their drugs, so they will leave. Often these people are willing to do a drug test, usually confident they will pass, but they are not so willing to walk past a drug dog carrying drugs on their person – and that is where the wheels fall off.

While we try to assist those clients who find themselves in the position of finding drugs in their workplace, covering the whole of NZ it is often logistically impossible for us to attend such incidents at short notice and the delays can be costly.

Our advice to clients who have an interest in food and product safety – put a proactive gate screening programme in place that deters people bringing their drugs onto your site or getting anywhere near your product.

Do you have an interest in keeping drugs out of your workplace – Contact us today!



Call to discuss: 027 473 1486

Web Enquiry: 


NZ Detector Dogs drug newsletter
Safer, Drug Free Environments

Recent waste water testing and NZ Drug Foundation reports has shown drugs and drug use have not decreased during lockdowns, in fact the very opposite. For some people, lockdown can be the perfect storm of stress, availability and cues, leading to ‘overdoing’ of potentially unsafe behaviours. Drug dealing and supply has by necessity become innovative and adaptive with transportation and delivery occurring through essential travel pathways.

 It's vital a proactive approach is taken to minimise these risks

With Auckland operating at Alert Level 4 and the rest of the country at Alert Level 2 we know how important it is to manage the Covid risks while still maintaining Health and Safety and Food Safety initiatives, minimising risk and harm illegal drug hazards pose to your staff, products, business operations and the environments you operate in. It is also important to us that we continue to operate in a safe manner protecting ourselves and our clients during any Alert Level while still being highly visible.

In order to provide a proactive drug screening presence, while minimising Covid risks we can offer some alternative drug screening options that reduces person to person contact.  Our handlers are experienced, flexible and adapt to site specific safety procedures.

Screening utilising drug dogs reduces the need for unnecessary close contact with staff whilst deterring the presence, and effects, of drug hazards onsite.

NZDDS Advice:  The best way to deal with a drug issue - is not to have one!

Drug Sniffer Dog Arthur SPCA rescue Arthur Joins the NZDDS Team.
Meet Arthur - Now the youngest member of the NZDDS team so Harley's had a promotion.

Arthur was born in the SPCA and was eventually rehomed as a wee puppy and then the owner couldn’t keep him. So Arthur went back to the SPCA as a 7 month old and that's where we spotted him.

Just a happy, energetic little man is our Arthur – he has started his training already and at day 5 is almost as good as the trained dogs.

Nothing bothers him and he seems to thrive on doing something different every day.

Arthur's going to be working alongside Skylar who he gets on with really well.
Handsome Harley Joins the NZDDS Team.
Meet Harley - the youngest member of the NZDDS team.

Harley's owner thought that he was a special boy who needed a job & was more suited to be a working dog than a pet.

She saw one of our utes in Wellington and waited patiently until she could talk to Wayne and then showed him, Harley, as she wanted him to have a rewarding and fulfilling life.

Harley has passed his training with ease and passed his final certification in Auckland with flying colours. 

We hope that we can do Harley and his previous owner proud! Thank you for finding us.
Drug Dog Harley in his working harness
Drug Dog Kai being interviewed for TV Programme the Project NZ Detector Dogs on TV Three's The Project.

Did you catch Janet, Sarah, Monty, Kai and Skyla on TV three's -The Project? If not or you want to see them again go to the link below.

Big thank you to The Project for having us on.

To see the story click here
Health, Safety and .... Dogs?

Cavalier Woolscourers are committed to a safe and healthy workplace for all employees and contractors.  Central to this culture, we hold regular health and safety meetings and identify a project, area or piece of equipment that could create a risk. 

As part of the focus on health and safety, Cavalier Woolscourers are committed to creating a drug-free culture at its sites.  The most recent support for this undertaking has been a site visit at Awatoto from NZ Detector Dogs to determine whether there are any illicit drugs on site.

To read more click here
Drug dog Monty checking a workplace for illegal drugs
Drug Dog Zara searching a worksite for Methamphetamine Spring Edition of SPCA's Animal's Voice
"Dogs with jobs"

Most of us associate ‘working dogs’ with a farm, as guide dogs for blind or partially sighted people, or as police dogs. But dogs are used in far more wide-ranging roles than these, particularly in detection roles.

It’s a mid-winter morning, still dank with fog as Zara waits patiently for handler Janet from New Zealand Detector Dogs and the supervisor at the factory to finish talking. Finally, Janet comes over, slips on Zara’s harness and they’re into the factory to see what they can find. Zara’s been trained to find drugs in the workplace, since the factory owner suspects some of his workers are using them on the job. Zara will be able to sort through the huge range of smells available to her and identify a range of drugs.

To read more click here

Salmon treats are doggy hit

Omega Plus is a pet food, dietary supplement and treats range by Omega Innovations, a division of The New Zealand King Salmon Company.  New Zealand Detector Dogs has been trialing this product for Omega Plus and the results have been amazing.

The range, which includes wet and dry pet food as well as treats and dietary supplements, is completely natural and made up of sustainably sourced King salmon, which gives the products high levels of health beneficial omega-3 and protein.

But, according to division manager Simon Thomas, the health benefits for pets – including a shiny, soft coat and better joint mobility – are not the only reason the range has proven popular with pet owners. 

To read more click here

Sunday Star Times 27 August 2017

Drug Dog Kai and Drug Dog handler Sarah

Drug Dog Zara searching an office for drugs Sniffer dogs nose out drugs in white collar workplaces

Sniffer dogs are moving from the factory floor and into offices and white collar workplaces as businesses try to root out illicit drug use.

Owner of NZ Detector Dogs, Janet Williams, said interest from corporates was growing, and large companies now asked her to take trained dogs through their offices as well as manufacturing production lines and warehouses.

A spike in demand has coincided with new health and safety laws, but some companies were protecting their precious professional reputations said Williams.

To read more click here

So proud of little Java

Java has gone from a little pound puppy to a fully certified drug dog in just 8 months! Its a proud moment for the team when we save a life and see the efforts of the hard work put into these dogs pay off.

Not a single person gave Java a second glance at the pound and she was to be put down on the day we took her - still only a puppy.

Enjoy your new life Java and do us proud.

Rescue dog Java before being trained as a drug sniffer dog
Drug Detector Dog Xandy trained to find drugs cannabis and methamphetaimine Meet the NEW team member XANDY

Xandy graduated today meaning she will be joining Bree down south.

Xandy came to be with us in August when we were approached by Guide Dogs who had this beautiful 20 month old Labrador.  She had been born and bred to be a much valued dog with the Blind Foundation, however Xandy appeared to have other ideas about her career path.

Not contented to be a guide dog Xandy set out to challenge her trainers and after much effort - it was decided that her future was not with the blind.  With an inkling that Xandy was not going to be a guide dog or a pet, NZ Detector Dogs was approached to see if Xandy could be offered a rewarding future with the team.

While we don't usually take such dogs, we did so for Xandy's sake.  She was a cheeky little monkey that had trouble written all over her unless she had a challenge and so we took her for a 1 month trial to see if working as a drug dog would be that challenge. 

Within one week Xandy answered that question loud and clear - yes she wanted to be a drug dog. Thriving on the training, scent work, stimulating environments and situations she grew in front of our eyes into one of the best trainees I have seen for a long time.    She has already had a number of operational finds and loves the work.  Her tail goes non stop and she is just so confident and happy when working.  

We now have an awesome new team member kindly sent to us by Guide Dogs. They should be very proud of this little lady who is already well on her way to a successful new career!

The Story of Zara 

In 2009 Zara was found wandering on the streets of Auckland and was skin and bone. She was covered in sores and wounds and although was only about 8 months old when found, had already had a litter of puppies. Her coat was a dry brittle brown colour and She was taken to the Auckland SPCA where we went on the lookout for a potential working dog

I walked past the cage she was in and slipped her a biscuit. For the next 30 minutes as we looked at the other rehome dogs - this little dog didn't leave the front of the cage and her eyes never left us for a second. 

To read more about Zara  click here 


Drug Dog Zara and Janet Williams searching for illegal drugs in a worksite
drug dog Kai and his handler Sarah A poster boy for unwanted dogs

A stray dog found in a park in Kaikohe has become a star drug detector. In fact Kai and another one-time stray, Monty, have shown such talent that NZ Detector Dog Services managing director Janet Williams reckons they should be the "poster boys" for all unwanted dogs.

Kai, a cattle dog-cross was about six weeks old when 7-year-old Devon Robinson and his family found him in Reed Park. Emaciated, severely infested with worms, covered in fleas (and bubble gum), he soon became a beautiful dog, but found his way to Detector Dogs when the Robinsons decided that he needed more than they could give him.

He began his training on April and finished 10 days ago. The next day he was tested by two qualified assessors, and an independent assessor in a validation test, an international standard for drug detector dogs and the highest level achievable in New Zealand, where he scored 100 per cent.

To read more click here

The Northern Age -  30 June 2015
The new team on the block.

Meet Kai, Monty and their talented handler Sarah!

The new team on the block. Completed their training in record time and both passed their Validation test with 100%.

A huge thank you to the Robinson family who saved Kai as an unwanted puppy and ARAN dog rescue who saved Monty from Ruapehu Pound.

Without you opening your hearts and homes to these two beautiful dogs who knows where they would be.

We aim to make you proud of your boys!

Drug Detector Dog Monty and handler SarahDrug Dog Kai and his handler Sarah
Drug Dog Monty rescued from the pound Meet another one of our new recruits Monty

On behalf of Monty I want to say a huge thank you to ARAN Rescue.

They saved Monty from the pound and fostered him in a safe environment - not an easy ask for this boy. Realising that he was a lot of dog - ARAN sought out a rewarding life for Monty and we are grateful they did so.

He has started his training as a drug dog and is well on his way to becoming a very good one! We will keep you posted on his progress - but so far he is doing well and loving his new life.

Former stray has nose for his starring role

The skinny, flea-ridden, worm-infested puppy that found a loving home with seven-year-old Devon Robinson and his family last year (Important new career for Kai, April 2) has done more than simply show promise as a drug dog.

Kai (reportedly short for Kaikohe, although gaining four kilos in his first 13 days with NZ Detector Dogs has some wondering if it doesn't have some reference to his appetite), was a star, Janet Williams said last week.

To read more click here

The Northern Age -  16 April 2015

Drug Sniffer Dog Kai who was rescued
Kai after being rescued and before being trained as a drug detector dogbd510dd4ee3d0c5514d0 620x313-663
Meet our newest recruit Kai

Kai was saved by the amazing Robinson family who loved him enough to seek a rewarding life for him. He is a lucky boy to have been saved when hundreds of others are not so fortunate.

We'll keep you posted on his progress but for now, read Kai's story click here


Maori Television - Kina's K9s 

See Janet and Luke, Jamie and Keita in action showing Kina how to be a detector dog.

Janet explains the philosophy of New Zealand Detector Dogs - selecting only rescue dogs that no one else wants or can train, basic scent association and how the dogs detect drugs in workplaces.

Click here to watch the full episode.  

Janet Williams drug dog handler on Maori Tv-699
Drug Dog Luke
Taken from a blog by Firefly photography entitled:

"The one image that says everything I want said about the work that I do."

It's sometimes pretty hard to explain to a client how deeply serious I am about the work that i do, or what I'm seeing in them when I work with them.

To many clients it's just about the image, whether it's something to post online or have printed for display.

The honest truth is that there is so much more to a picture - it's real value only becomes apparent after time.

The other side of the story is that creating a truly valuable image is, to a professional photographer like myself, a very deliberate act that takes many things into account.

I recently challenged myself to find one image that encapsulates all the small and important things that make me truly work at creating imagery of value to my clients.

I thought I'd struggle to do that - I ended up being wrong.

The Story of Luke - click to read more 

NZ drug detector dogs come from the street

The Government is trialling pedigree harrier hounds as border security detector dogs, but some of the sharpest noses in the private sector come from far less elite stock.

NZ Detector Dogs is a private business that does drug sweeps for businesses keen to keep drugs out of the workplace.

Founder Janet Williams said the company gets its dogs not from pedigree-breeding programmes, but from the pound.

To read more click here - Business - 18 March 2015

Drug dog Zara checking a workplace for drug hazards
Java rescued from pound to be trained as a drug detector dog
Meet Java the newest addition to our drug dog team.

Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, but hopefully not for little Java. She is our latest recruit and only 4 months old - saved on her last scheduled day on earth.

Thank you to all the dedicated staff at the Manukau Pound that helped us find this special little dog! Look at the size of those ears.

Meet Buddy the newest addition to our drug dog team.

Buddy was rescued by the Whangarei SPCA who spotted his potential as a working dog and contacted us.   We put Buddy through our training programme and he showed what a great little dog he is.

In March Buddy was put through a comprehensive certification carried out by qualified independent assessors and we are proud to say that he passed his Validation Test with the perfect score of 100% and no false indications.

Buddy will be based in Auckland working alongside Luke and Zara with their handler Janet – keep an eye out for this sharp little guy!

Buddy rescued and trained as a Drug Detector Dog
Auckland apartment owners are calling in the dogs to sniff out drugs.

Janet Wiliams of New Zealand Detector Dogs says demand has increased dramatically as owners try to stop drug manufacturing and use in their buildings.

"We're similar to a smoke detector in a hallway," she says. "We're advising the building managers that there's something of interest and they maybe need to follow up on it."

Over the course of an hour all 158 rooms in one downtown apartment building are checked for drugs. The dogs don't go into the rooms, but will respond if they get a whiff from under the door.

To read more click here: 

NZ Detector Dogs Managing Director Janet Williams on TV3 News 091113
NZ Detector Dogs Screens The Mirage Apartments in parnell
Plush apartments going to (drug) dogs

Drug-detecting dogs are running through the hallways, reception areas and carparks of Parnell's The Mirage apartments.

In a crackdown aimed at warning people against bringing drugs on to the premises or trying to use the resort-style twin towers as a methamphetamine lab, the body corporate at The Strand complex backed the moves which building manager Helen Blick described as "popular".

Residents were not offended by the dog raids, she said, pointing to a prominent foyer sign warning of snap surveillance.

"It's more of a deterrent. If people think they're coming to live at The Mirage with drugs, watch out!" warned Mrs Blick, an apartment owner and resident for nine years.

Mirage Matters, the residents' and owners' newsletter, listed the dogs' arrival as one of the key improvements at the 125-unit block, developed 11 years ago.

But apartment owners were also warned they would have no idea when the dogs would arrive because searches would occur randomly.

To read more click here

Meet drug dog Buddy

A previously unwanted mixed-breed dog has found his calling in life as a drug sniffer.

Buddy is the latest success story from Whangarei SPCA's Dogs with a Job programme, which aims to identify and train pooches with big potential.

The 10-month-old is now being trained by New Zealand Detector Dogs, the country's leading private provider of specialist drug and explosives canines.

Managing director and trainer Janet Williams says the whippet-cattle dog cross is enjoying his training.

"He is really meeting the grade and in most cases he is exceeding what a dog would normally do at this stage.

"He is now confident at sniffing out most of the targets and planting his little bum down and not moving until he gets rewarded," she says.

"He has also learned that the longer you stay and show interest in the box, the more biscuits you get."

Buddy will have another year of training before he starts work

To read more about buddy click here

Whangarei Leader - 1st August 2013


Meet NZ Detector Dogs rescue dog Buddy who is training to be a drug dog

Rescue dog buddy preparing to join the NZ Detector Dogs for training as a drug dog
Rescued dogs sniff out crime

To some they are just unwanted mongrels, but Whangarei SPCA staff can recognise a good dog when they see one, especially one that's got the nose for sniffing out illegal activity.

Last year a stray dog named Brutus, found and looked after by Whangarei SPCA staff, was chosen to sniff out bombs in some of the world's war-torn danger spots after his talent for sniffing things was recognised by SPCA staff. And now another pooch rescued by the SPCA is on his way to becoming a top drug-sniffing dog.

Buddy was only six months old when his owner handed him in to the SPCA because his barking was sparking complaints in the city about six months ago. But the SPCA staff immediately recognised that he could have what it takes to become a detector dog.......

To read more about Buddy click here 

The Northern Advocate, 1st August 2013 

Dog Squad

An exciting series following integral roles that working dogs and their handlers play on the frontline protecting our streets, communities, prisons, airports, borders and national parks.

We’re right in with the action following the real scenarios that unfold as a result of these dedicated hardworking dogs that work for the Police, Corrections Service, Customs, and Ministry for Primary Industries, Aviation Security, New Zealand Detector Dog Services and the Department of Conservation.


Tune in to TV One to see one of NZ Detector Dog's teams in action at 7:30pm  on Monday 26 August 2013.

NZ Detector Dogs will feature on TV One programme Dog Squad



About us

As the leading service provider in workplace drug detection we have put our wide ranging skills together to provide  clients with highly trained K9 's for safer, drug free environments.

Latest news

Our drug detector dog teams have featured regularly in the media in programmes such as Dog Squad, Coast Watch and in numerous publications.

Contact us

North Island
027 473 1486 - Janet    
South Island
027 431 6225 - Noeline 
We welcome your enquiries!

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