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Meth and housing

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, October 27th, 2016 - 29 comments
Categories: drugs, housing, science, tenants' rights - Tags: , ,

Key’s “War on P” is going so swimmingly well that there’s a lot of it about. But in this context, is it just being used as an excuse? – Methamphetamine blamed for empty Housing New Zealand houses

Methamphetamine is keeping people out of state homes, says Housing New Zealand.

Several vacant HNZ properties are empty because they have been contaminated with the drug, also known as P, the corporation says.

It is hitting back at criticism from Napier City councillor Maxine Boag, who said a lack of state houses had left vulnerable families homeless with many having to resort to motel units for a place to stay.

The problem is thas – Housing NZ ignored warnings over meth evictions

Housing New Zealand has ignored repeated warnings from senior government officials that it is misusing methamphetamine contamination guidelines to evict its tenants.

The Ministry of Health has repeatedly told Housing New Zealand that its methamphetamine guidelines were to be applied only for the clean up of former meth labs, and were not intended to monitor homes where the drug has been smoked.

Yet hundreds of tenants have been evicted from their state homes, after Housing New Zealand detected tiny traces of methamphetamine in them, and are often made to pay tens of thousands of dollars in clean up fees.

The ministry has just published new guidelines saying meth can be found at three to four times higher than the level being used as a reason to evict tenants.

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said Housing New Zealand had caused a huge amount of harm by knowingly misusing the guidelines.

“Housing New Zealand have evicted people out of HNZ homes, out of social housing, they have blacklisted these tenants for 12 months and they knew these guidelines were wrong,” Mr Bell said.

“What do they do with the tenants that they’ve evicted, what do they do with the tenants who have been blacklisted, what do they do with the tenants who have been given $20,000 -$40,000 clean up bills?

“What are Housing New Zealand now going to do?”

Excellent reporting from RNZ. Housing NZ has a lot of explaining to do.

(The Ministry of Health guidelines are here.)

29 comments on “Meth and housing ”

  1. Bearded Git 1

    No sign of Minister of Health Coleman fronting up on this scandalous issue on Morning Report-Radio NZ do not seem to have asked to interview him. John Campbell should nail him tonight.

    The evictions have been going on for years.

    • Keith 1.1

      No chance.

      National ministers are refusing to front with Campbell as are Corrections and Police and in fact most senior public service managers empowered by their useless, arrogant, lazy and totally ineffective Ministers refusals to do the same. They fall to pieces when asked anything approaching difficult questions.

      They all got comfortable with the patsy’s like Hosking, Williams and Henry tummy scratching.

      • Bearded Git 1.1.1

        Yes nobody was fronting for Campbell last night.

        Its time Campbell got some comedians in to pretend to be ministers and be interviewed. The problem might be listeners won’t be able to tell the difference.

  2. ianmac 3

    Coleman will of course say that he can do nothing because it is an “Operational Matter” or “Commercial Sensitivity.”

  3. Richard Rawshark 4

    If Labour was in power there would be screams coming from every media outlet demanding resignations from all in sundry. Including the PM.

  4. dv 5

    Fair Go? did a program on this a month or 2 ago.

    As I recall they dis a meth test on paper money people in the street had in their pocket at the same sensitivities they were using on the houses.

    The notes showed positive tests.

  5. The New Student 6

    It’s about time somebody picked up on this travesty.

    I’ve posted this before: “Meth testing” detects meth that’s not “P”, including lawful medications and the stuff in Vicks inhalers, to name the most common.

    Decontamination of a property is ONLY required when it is evident that a lab has been in operation. Get it? Mass production of P. Not someone smoking it at one time or other.

    It’s not really the meth end product that’s dangerous, it’s more the solvents and other reagents needed for the cook. That’s why a lab needs to be decontaminated and rightly so.

    A house that has an indication that meth was smoked there at some point does not need decon.

    These guidelines have been grossly misunderstood and I’d say even abused: the proliferation of meth testing “services” and their own questionable methods are indicative of this misuse.

    There needs to be a full inquiry into this matter, those guidelines are in huge need of overhaul and probably some legislative work to protect hnz tenants and everyone concerned.

    I suspect many of those tenants were wrongfully evicted and wrongfully charged. Inquiry is needed but like that will happen.

    • Punk Is Bread 6.1

      In industrial cleaning products also, which makes sense in state houses. I wish someone would test parliament just to prove a point, the chemicals are everywhere if you are looking for a sample that tiny. I recall a scientist saying that if those houses really were full of P then drug addicts would be smearing themselves on the walls. Total sham, Sabin & his ilk are making a lot of money with the fear & scapegoating & of course the handy side product of kicking out tenants (& making a very tidy profit also!).

    • Bearded Git 6.2

      @TNS Agree totally
      This has been a nice little earner for Nationals mates who clean up the houses even though this is almost always not needed. This government just loves to be seen to be tough on “Meth testing” and the collateral damage of chucking poor people into the streets and fining them huge amounts for the clean up, usually on totally spurious grounds, is irrelevant.

      Coleman has sat on his hands and allowed this situation to develop and go on and on. He should resign.

      • Punk Is Bread 6.2.1

        I wonder if any ‘meth’ is still found even after they ‘clean up’? $20,000 to test a house, & they use one swab on multiple surfaces. HNZ Houses remain empty in Mosgiel because of ‘meth contamination’, Mosgiel is basically a retirement home.

        • The New Student

          @Punk +1 funny you should say that, because according to the guidelines, following a full decon of a lab/suspected lab, it is expected that meth will likely still be detectable however it is not to exceed 0.5 ug per 100 cm2.

          That is, for reoccupancy of a deconned former clan lab, detectable meth should ideally not exceed 0.5 ug per 100 cm2.

          Source: https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/guidelines-remediation-clandestine-meth-lab-sites.pdf
          Chapter 4, table 3

          That magic number, 0.5 micrograms per hundy cm2.

          And yes, using the same swab on multiple areas, wtf

          The guidelines also say that a whole bunch of other key chemicals also need to be tested and meet remediation levels too, not just meth. I wonder how many of these deconned properties actually bothered with those.

          The guidelines are for remediation of known clan labs, not for state houses where somebody smoked P

          I can’t believe it’s managed to get this far 🙁

          • The New Student

            Ugh sorry for posting so much but the reading is interesting:

            “I wonder if any ‘meth’ is still found even after they ‘clean up’?”

            Sure is:
            1. Fig. A3 p46 MOH Review 26 Oct 2016
            Note the figure caption is a little inaccurate by stating “remediated clandestine laboratories”.
            McKenzie (2014) in her original figure (Figure 6.4 p114) states that these sites are “suspected former clandestine methamphetamine laboratories” for reasons given in the methods (section 4.1.1 p23).
            Either way, the deconned sites fail to hit the 0.5 ug mark conclusively.

            2. Patrick et. al. (2009): “three former CDLs had unacceptable levels of residual methamphetamine despite having been decontaminated by a state-certified contractor”
            Admittedly small sample size, given their constraints, but interesting results from this pilot, which well-referenced in the McKenzie thesis (2014).

            And that’s all I’ve read so far.

            So in a number of cases, decontamination isn’t as effective as one would expect. If decontamination fails to meet the 0.5 ug standard (or even the proposed 2.0 ug standard) then what hope do the new occupants have when the HNZ testers come calling again?

            • Gangnam Style

              Wow, if only we had some journalists left in this country. A mean comment but really, what the fuck are they doing when all this information is out there for someone to collate & present to the nation. Thanks New Student, will look further into that, knew it was a total scam. On the news they have changed the guidelines to 2 instead of 0.5, but won’t say why they changed the number (like what difference will it make).

  6. tc 7

    National yet again show a mastery in crises manufacture and using the dog whistles to their advantage.

  7. ianmac 9

    Of course a tenant in a Housing Corp House is usually powerless to stand up against the beurocracy and not likely to vote National, so toss ’em out and sell the house.

  8. Siobhan 10

    We lived in a house that the landlord insisted on ‘Fly proofing’. This happened after we signed the lease, but hadn’t actually moved in. This involved spraying the whole house with some sort of chemical that kept the house entirely fly free for the whole year. No insect came within cooee of any surface.
    And we lived in that.
    With our 3 children.
    Quite frankly I would rather rent a house where someone had smoked p in the living room.

  9. James Thrace 11

    Fly spray residue tests positive for P. No lie.

    Meth testers only reach the old guidelines because they use one swab, just one, across all surfaces in the house.

    If proper standards were in place, then it would be a swab per room. Not one swab per house which of course, is going to end up with a positive result, every time.

    We had our owner occupied house meth tested out of interest. We’ve lived in it for 10 years. Prior to that it was owned by a retired couple.
    The result? Contaminated. The report from the meth company was scaremongering and recommended an urgent decontamination of the house. We have never smoked P.

    Their recommended company to do decontamination? Oh, their sister company that just happened to be owned by the same director of the testing company.

    Fucking rort. There must be a common law action that can be taken against housing nz for their despicable actions, and the excessive cost they’ve imposed on taxpayers, for no reason at all.

    • Cinny 11.1

      Dang, there is the evidence right there, from your own experience.

      And if fly spray residue makes for a false positive, I wonder if they do a big drive for meth testing in the summer months, when there are more flies etc, more fly spray.

      Same with the comments re chemical cleaners, if tenants move out, the house is professionally cleaned, then tested after that, a false positive is a high probability, and an excuse to keep house vacant, black list the prior tennants, and encourage more homelessness.

      Fucking rort is exactly right. Scare mongering for their own gains and agendas, disgusting.

      • The New Student 11.1.1

        Exactly. This whole thing needs to go to court. Or however such matters are dealt with. How does do?

  10. emergency mike 12

    Politicians and private companies exploiting a “war on drugs” to advance their agenda while shrugging their shoulders at the human beings they fuck over along the way. Who’d have thunk it.

    Drugs are bad, mmmkay, and sometimes I need to rewatch Mr Mackey explain why to remind me of that. But drugs didn’t kick hundreds of people out of their homes even though they, knowingly, had no mandate to do so. National, all heart.

    • Gangnam Style 12.1

      What series of South Park is that? I have been watching them all, I didn’t realise how clever it was, always thought of it as dumb teen age boy gross humour until the ‘murder porn’ & Minecraft episodes.

      • emergency mike 12.1.1

        Good move. South Park has aged well, still a clever commentary on various absurdities of modern life. “Ike’s Wee Wee” season 2 episode 4.

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