Remanded on drug charge

A queenstown man charged with importing drugs into New Zealand was remanded without plea at the end of a court appearance yesterday.

Matthew Richard Hill (21) appeared before Judge Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

He was arrested on Monday night. Hill allegedly bought two grams of class A-controlled drug MDMA - commonly known as ecstasy - online from overseas.

Senior Constable Julian Cahill said Hill, a tele-sales officer, had set up a post office box in Frankton but the drugs were intercepted by customs at Queenstown Airport on June 4.

Hill faces one charge of importing MDMA. Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin said in court yesterday while ''on the face of it'' the charge was serious and carried the maximum penalty of life imprisonment, the alleged offence was ''at the lower end of the scale''.

Seeking bail for Hill, defence counsel Dale Lloyd said it was his first appearance before the court.

He said his client lived and worked locally, did not hold a current New Zealand passport and it was ''unlikely'' he would leave town.

Judge Turner remanded Hill to July 14, imposing a condition of residence and ordering him not to apply for a passport or leave or attempt to leave New Zealand.