Police seized more than $2 million worth of cannabis in just one week across the greater Auckland area and blame ''premium growing conditions'' for some plants topping two metres tall.
Twenty-three people were arrested and 14 firearms were confiscated from suspected drug growers as part of a national cannabis recovery operation run by police and the air force.
Those arrested face cultivation of cannabis and possession of firearms charges.
Firearms recovered included shotguns, rifles and semi-automatics.
An air force Iroquois from Ohakea flew to Whenuapai for the operation run with North Shore and Waitakere police and the Waitemata law enforcement team.
Some of the 2000 plants netted were reached by police winched into plantations from a helicopter.
Many plants were the highest they had ever seized at 2.1m tall.
Detective Sergeant Callum McNeill, who led the Auckland phase of the operation, said this year's bust was similar to previous years' except seized plants were ''a lot bigger''.
''That's probably due to the premium growing conditions at the moment, lots of water and lots of sun.''
Police have seized cannabis from areas including Waimauku, Kaukapakapa, Parakai, Helensville and Riverhead.
Tipoffs from the public led to raids on public conservation land, forestry, and private backyards.
''The public has really got behind the operation,'' McNeill said.
''We can't do it without their help.''
''They might see people cutting padlocks in rural areas, or with water supplies and fertilising equipment.''
The national recovery operation has been running since October and finishes next month to coincide with the outdoor cannabis growing season.
McNeill urges people to continue reporting cannabis crops to police or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
- © Fairfax NZ News