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New Zealand authorities have found 3.2 tonnes of cocaine floating in the Pacific Ocean, with the drugs believed to have been destined for the Australian market.

Police, customs officers and defence force personnel worked together on the drug bust, which is expected to deal a significant blow to an international criminal syndicate, New Zealand authorities said in a joint media release.

The shipment of 81 bales has since made the six-day journey back to New Zealand aboard the Royal New Zealand Navy vessel HMNZS Manawanui, and will now be destroyed.

The drugs have been shipped to to New Zealand where they will be destroyed.The drugs have been shipped to to New Zealand, where they will be destroyed. (New Zealand Police)

The size of the shipment made it likely the drugs would have been headed to Australia, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said.

“We believe there was enough cocaine to service the Australian market for about one year and this would be more than New Zealand would use in 30 years,” he said.

“There is no doubt this discovery lands a major financial blow right from the South American producers through to the distributors of this product,” he said.

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