Twyford reverses National’s flawed methamphetamine housing policy

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, December 9th, 2017 - 70 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, class war, drugs, housing, labour, national, phil twyford, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: ,

One of the stupidest most inhumane things the last Government did was to develop a tough on tenants policy regarding methamphetamine.  Not on cooks, but on people living in flats where minuscule traces of methamphetamine were found.  They were summarily evicted.  Bad enough that proof that they actually caused the methamphetamine traces to be present was not required but what made it really crazy was they misinterpreted and misapplied Department of Health data on what was a safe level of methamphetamine.

Belligerent beneficiary bashing combined with scientific illiteracy is a powerful combination.  And wrecked the lives of far too many people.  And they were told.

From Radio New Zealand a year ago:

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?”

 

What a difference a change of government makes.  Now we have a Minister who understands the science, has human empathy and is also bewildered at the horrendous cost of methamphetamine testing that the last Government engaged in.  A Minister who met with Robert Erueti who has suffered from significant health problems after being evicted after minuscule traces of methamphetamine were found in his Housing Corporation Flat and who has had to sleep rough for periods of time.

Again from Radio New Zealand:

Hundreds of Housing New Zealand properties have been left empty and millions squandered on methamphetamine testing, Housing Minister Phil Twyford says.

Mr Twyford apologised on Checkpoint with John Campbell today for the treatment of a man who spent 58 weeks in emergency housing in a motel – costing the government $44,000, after traces of methamphetamine were found in his home.

Mr Twyford pledged to make changes to the existing regime.

Last night Checkpoint reported that Robert Erueti was evicted from his state house where he lived for more than 15 years in February last year.

Mr Twyford said yesterday Mr Erueti should never have been evicted from his HNZ home.

“I wanted to tell him that Housing New Zealand are changing their policy and they are moving to a new approach for dealing with this issue that I think is more compassionate and more considered.”

The minister said if methamphetamine traces were found now support, not eviction, would be the first approach.

“Over the last three years Housing New Zealand, on behalf of the tax payer, has spent $75 million on testing and remediating houses that are or were allegedly contaminated.”

Mr Twyford said this had left hundreds of properties empty.

“Some 900 properties have been left vacant in the middle of a housing crisis on the basis of a methamphetamine contamination standard that cannot distinguish between a place that is genuinely contaminated from the manufacture of methamphetamine, and would endanger the health of someone living in that house, and an infinitesimally small residue that would pose no risk.”

He said a kind of moral panic over methamphetamine had taken hold.

“I think that has been drummed up and exploited by a meth testing industry that saw an opportunity to make a dollar.

“Put that together with the fact we had a standard that was patently not fit for purpose.”

Mr Twyford met Mr Erueti and his daughter Casey in Auckland and apologised.

“The eviction of Robert made his life immeasurably more difficult … I apologised to them on behalf of the government.”

This blog post from Russell Brown in August 2016 is remarkably prescient.  He concludes with this passage which is as applicable now as it was then:

The real victims of this debacle are the Housing NZ tenants who lost their homes, often on the basis of no more than suspicion or gossip. As I note in the story, the corporation’s meth team went some  pretty grim places with this problem – even “talking about” the idea of making universal drug tests a precondition of tenancy. They seem to have lost touch with Housing NZ’s role as a social agency.

I can’t be sure, but I suspect Housing NZ’s practice, at least as far as remediation goes, is already quietly changing. When I visited the Housing NZ flats in Greys Avenue a little over a month ago, I counted nine places boarded up up. There are only a couple now, and some of those opened have not been stripped out. Number 37, boarded up since March, is getting a paint job only. So needless cost may be being curbed now.

That will be of little comfort to those who have lost their homes and security. This is a story of how things get out of hand, and how moral panic and drug stigma lead us to make terrible decisions.

Well done Pbil Twyford, well done.

70 comments on “Twyford reverses National’s flawed methamphetamine housing policy”

  1. Antoine 1

    On balance this is awesome, well done Twyford

    A.

  2. Good shepherd 2

    Well done 👍🏼 Phil Twyford. Yes.

    Appallingly done Nick Smith and the rest of those Nat ministers who ignored the science and the advice and the pleas of those who could see what they were doing was wrong and unnecessary.

    The question is why?

    Because it was expedient.

    Their agenda is to keep othering the vulnerable, failing the public services, privatising Public property, advancing private interests, and worsening while denying there is a crisis. No housing crisis. No mental health crisis. No health crisis. No aging population with needs that they weren’t preparing to meet. No water crisis. No infrastructure crisis.

    They should never be allowed anywhere near the treasury benches again.

    • John up North 2.1

      Why? well it added to the Billshit line that the nats love to peddle – Beneficiaries are useless bludgers that sit on the couch doing drugs all day and don’t want to work. Once again due to their own irresponsible behaviour and poor life choices we have to give em the boot cause hard working, tax paying families shouldn’t pay for these “bad” people to have a roof over their heads while having “fun”.

  3. Carolyn_Nth 3

    There was a new meth testing and decontamination standard issued in June.

    Standards NZ.

    Ministry of Health

    The scope of NZS 8510 covers:

    measures to manage risks to health, well-being, safety, and the environment
    guidance on methods of screening, sampling and testing of properties and their contents
    best practice procedures and criteria, for decontaminating methamphetamine-contaminated properties and their contents. This includes providing for room-by-room, ie, only those rooms found to be contaminated need to be decontaminated, to avoid unnecessary costs and disruption for residents and home owners
    guidance on post-decontamination actions, including sampling and testing to verify decontamination has been achieved and reporting and documentation requirements.

    How good was this? And what does Twyford’s policy do to improve on it?

    Had Housing NZ’s policies already changed following the release of the new standard?

    • Bill 3.1

      The August 16th blog post from Russel Brown linked in the post suggests changes were already being executed.

      What I’m picking is that the shift from eviction to support (whatever that might mean) is Twyford’s basic contribution, which though welcome enough, isn’t exactly headline stuff.

      So he’s decided to dress it up in some finery that he really doesn’t have anything to do with- the deeper shift in policy that occurred last June – in order to get some attention and adulation/traction.

      • patricia bremner 3.1.1

        “He decided to dress it up” Very cynical Bill. What he actually did was recognize and apologise for the harm done to tenants for bad policy.

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          Well, going from the post header – “Twyford reverses National’s flawed methamphetamine housing policy” and from the main body of text “What a difference a change of government makes. Now we have a Minister who understands the science,…” – I’m reasonably assuming he’s made some claim to that effect.

          Of course, it could just as likely be that mickysavage has got carried away by his own enthusiasm to the extent of suggesting things that neither Twyford nor his staff have actually suggested.

          I agree that he (Twyford) has done as you say. And that apologising is a good thing. The announcement of the intent to approach tenants of contaminated properties with “support” is something I regard with caution.

          But then, as you rightly point out, I don’t exactly shy away from cynicism 😉

    • mickysavage 3.2

      Carolyn did you read the post?

      If you read Russell Brown’s post in August 2016 referred to above (written AFTER the Health guidelines were published) one of the big issues was that Housing Corp were misusing Health’s guidelines.

      There is also the Radio NZ comment “Housing New Zealand has ignored repeated warnings from senior government officials that it is misusing methamphetamine contamination guidelines to evict its tenants”.

      And this:

      “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.”

      • Carolyn_Nth 3.2.1

        The new standard was published in June 2017, not 2016.

        I had looked at it when I had a new clause in my renewed tenancy agreement has a new meth testing clause. The 2017 standard didn’t exist when I looked this time last year. The new standard does say there needs to be proof a tenant caused any meth contamination. Consequently, I was OK about signing my new tenancy agreement.

        I listened to Twyford on RNZ Checkpoint last night, and thought he fudged the references to when the testing scam occurred – ie sounded more historical. I just listened again,

        At 2.35 secs, Twyford said Housing NZ are moving towards a more compassionate approach.

        In response to Campbell asking if he was announcing a new policy for the first time tonight on RNZ, Twyford then said:

        This is the first time that as Minister I’ve spoken about this policy.

        He says the guy in charge of HNZ has done the hard work on it, and Twyford supports him.

        At about 4.25 mins, Twyford says:

        you know over the last 3 years, Housing New Zealand, on behalf of the tax payer, has spent 75 million dollars, on testing and remediating, that are or were allegedly contaminated.

        Some 900 properties have been left vacant in the middle of a housing crisis,[pause] on the basis of a methamphetamine contamination Standard, that cannot distinguish between a place that is genuinely contaminated by the manufacture of methamphetamine and would therefore pose a risk to someone’s health who is living in the house, and infinitesimally small residue, that would pose no risk whatsoever…

        Campbell says something about the testing having been done at a level of 0.5, which is extremely low.

        Then, Twyford talks about the scam of testing, then he says:

        The Standard is patently not fit for purpose, or wasn’t.

        My bold, because that’s where I thought Twyford was fudging when the policy had actually changed at HNZ, when I listened last night.

        The Ministry of Health web page on the 2017 Standard, linked to above says:

        The standard adopts a single level of 1.5 µg/100 cm2 (1.5 micrograms of methamphetamine per 100 square centimetres of surface sampled) that ‘high use areas’ of affected properties should be decontaminated to, regardless of whether the properties were involved in the production or use of methamphetamine. High use areas are defined as those areas that can be easily accessed and are regularly used by adults and children.

        So, basically, Twyford does not appear to have announced a new policy, but reaffirms the recent direction HNZ has started to take.

        Twyford does make it explicit that he thinks it’s important to treat meth use as a health problem, not a criminal one.

        • mickysavage 3.2.1.1

          Can you post the Meth clause? The HC website has the 2016 version still on the web. It does not refer to Meth but says:

          “keep your house and garden tidy and not damage the property – if friends, family or visitors damage the property, you need to pay for the repairs
          call us when repairs are needed

          not use the property for an unlawful purpose or let anyone else use it for unlawful purposes”

          There may or may not have been a quiet backdown by National about the issue. But the comment stands. They wanted to appear to be tough on crime and created this situation.

          • Carolyn_Nth 3.2.1.1.1

            What meth clause? what is HC?

            Note, in my first comment above, I asked about any changes to HNZ policies since the June 2017 Standard was announced.

            In his interview on Checkpoint last night, Twyford did not seem to be talking about a new government policy. He did refer to some recommendations from the head of HNZ.

            I’m not in a Housing NZ rental.

            PS: This Newsroom article from Oct 2017, says the new Standard doesn’t go far enough, and that HNZ is being cagey about how they will comply. Also, it says the standard still doesn’t differentiate between contamination from a meth lab and from smoking.

            Twyford did nothing to clarify any of this on RNZ yesterday, in terms of either government, or HNZ policies.

            • mickysavage 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Meth clause:

              “I had looked at it when I had a new clause in my renewed tenancy agreement has a new meth testing clause.”

              HC = HNZ. Sorry for my shorthand.

              I am confused. This post is about Housing NZ treatment of tenants using a misunderstanding of a MOH test. It is good that the MOH has tried to clarify matters. But where is the evidence that HNZ has changed its approach?

              • Carolyn_Nth

                The meth clause in my tenancy agreement:

                General conditions:

                Illicit substances: I/We agree that methamphetamine testing may be carried out during the course of the tenancy as part of the property inspection process.

                I was asking if HNZ had changed it’s approach. All the headlines say that on RNZ Checkpoint yesterday, Phil Twyford announced that — as under RNZ Checkpoint video:

                Phil Twyford announces live on Checkpoint he will change HNZ policy over evicting tenants for positive methamphetamine results.

                But in the audio recording, I really didn’t hear a clear statement about this. As reported in the RNZ print report on the interview, linked from your above post, Micky:

                “I wanted to tell him that Housing New Zealand are changing their policy and they are moving to a new approach for dealing with this issue that I think is more compassionate and more considered.”

                But Twyford doesn’t say who encouraged HNZ to move towards a new approach, or if the initiative had come from Twyford or Labour.

                In the audio recording, Twyford says:

                But I want to acknowledge Andrew Mackenzie the Chief Executive of Housing NZ, who has been of the view for some time himself (he’s been in the job about 14 months), and he hasn’t been happy with the approach that was taken. He has done the hard work on this, and I support him absolutely.

                I share his view that kicking people out of their homes – often vulnerable people – out of their homes in the middle of a housing crisis, and making them homeless, is not a constructive or sensible response to something like addiction.

                And it sounds like Mackenzie has been in his job since about the time Russell Brown wrote his blog post on the issue, saying he suspected things were changing recently.

                Twyford just wasn’t that clear on RNZ yesterday – he was just fronting up to talk about apologising to one of the previous HNZ tenants who had been evicted.

                PS:
                But where is the evidence that HNZ has changed its approach?

                I was pretty much asking for this in my first comment above, so, I wouldn’t have thought there was much point in asking me back.

                I asked above:
                Had Housing NZ’s policies already changed following the release of the new standard?

                • The Chairman

                  “I share his view that kicking people out of their homes – often vulnerable people – out of their homes in the middle of a housing crisis, and making them homeless, is not a constructive or sensible response to something like addiction.”

                  That tends to imply people being evicted are addicts, therefore off to rehab?

                  How would the state know they are addicts when at this stage they can’t even prove people being evicted are the cause of the contamination? Drug testing?

                  Moreover, surely the Minster isn’t going to allow them to stay in a contaminated home? And with a shortage of state homes, the state will struggle to rehouse them. So where will they end up?

                  I’m with you, Carolyn, there are lots of questions for the Minister to answer.

                  • Carolyn_Nth

                    Well, on reflection, and after last night reading the Newsroom article critiquing the 2017 Standard, I don’t think Twyford was making an announcement about a fully worked out policy.

                    RNZ was quick to label Twyford’s statements as a policy announcement first made on RNZ. But it sounds more like a work in progress, and that Twyford has been communicating with the HNZ CEO on it.

                    That is why Twyford was a bit waffley, and why it has not been officially announced anywhere else as a new government policy.

                    So, it’s more of a statement of intent to improve the way HNZ tests for, and responds to meth contamination – and that HNZ has been working on their approach.

                    But also, that Newsroom article shows good reasons why the Standard also needs further work.

                    Nevertheless, it indicates a slight improvement of the way testing and responses to contamination have improved in the last year.

                    In particular, raising the maximum acceptable limit of meth contamination from 0.5 microgram to 1.5/100cm2 has resulted in 40-60 percent of cases falling below the standard which would have been previously exceeded it.

                    “That has been the improvement. Now fewer are being caught in the trap.”

                    This was evidenced when Housing NZ released 50 houses for re-habitation upon the announcement of these new levels. It is worth noting that 50 represents less than 10 percent of the homes Housing NZ then had uninhabited due to meth contamination.

                    The whole Newsroom article on this is well worth a read – many important points about the excessive focus on meth testing, the lack of evidence of major dangers to health, compared with other risks to tenant health from poor housing and other substances, etc.

                    It is good that Twyford was indicating meth usage is a health issue (for the user) and not a criminal one.

                    • The Chairman

                      Thanks, Carolyn.

                      With scientists disagreeing with the new testing standard (as reported in your link) one wonders why Labour aren’t doing more on correcting that and the cowboy industry?

                      Surely, a standard not fit for purpose requires their immediate attention.

                      Which in turn will free up more homes and reduce the amount requiring decontamination (thus tenants being removed) going forward.

                      As for it being a policy announcement, it does seem to be more a case of work in progress.

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

    And you can guaran-fuckin-tee that they were doing this on the instruction of successive National Party cabinet ministers, as part of National’s drive to run down the state housing stock. I hope that’s going to find its way into the public domain during this government’s tenure.

  5. This bit is less than promising:

    The minister said if methamphetamine traces were found now support, not eviction, would be the first approach.

    The minister should be saying that this scam is over, full stop.

    • David Mac 5.1

      If he wants to go down that road I think the first approach would need to be proving beyond a doubt that the tenants are responsible for the residue. There is little stopping a contractor from having a toot on a pipe as he redecorates my 85 year old parents’ unit.

  6. greywarshark 6

    There has to be some support for the past actions which would be based on the flimsiest health and safety background but people have believed them. So things can’t be just dismissed, can’t be just rolled back completely, but can reason prevail and true concern for both the tenants and the house owners.

    And further, to limit the drug business, perhaps taking particular care to find the drug ‘cooks’ and keep them separate from other prisoners and under special surveillance. And keep note of the drug factories overseas and their customers in NZ. And further develop micro businesses through a dedicated agency, giving people with creative, questing minds an alternative pathway and passion for their daily lives.

  7. patricia bremner 7

    [Deleted. Accidental duplicate comment] – Bill

  8. greg 8

    when questioned by reporters smith wouldn’t take responsibility for anything done on his watch thank god hes gone but what a mess phil twyford has inherited

    • Bearded Git 8.1

      +100 Greg…..Smith seems to be in denial….can’t tell truth from lies any more, if he ever could.

    • Cinny 8.2

      smith was mentioned in our local paper this week, pushing his so called role as nationals representative for Tasman.

      He says Motueka will see more of him and his caravan, I’m suspecting he will be a regular at the Sunday Markets here, last time nick was at the market was in the form of a glorious sculpture on the back of a trailer 🙂

      From a locals point of view it will be fascinating to watch. national have had no presence here for three years, after the election prior to this one, national closed up shop and didn’t open another office in Motueka (thanks to all involved in that episode lolololz)

      • Rosemary McDonald 8.2.1

        “…was in the form of a glorious sculpture on the back of a trailer.”

        Condolences to you and your neighbors Cinny, having to tolerate that solid lump of excrement on a regular basis…. 😉

        https://static2.stuff.co.nz/1256809340/734/3012734.jpg

      • savenz 8.2.2

        If the Greens and Labour had worked together Nelson could have got rid of Smith.
        22,198 votes for Labour and Green candidates and Nick smith 16735.

        BOYACK, Rachel12452
        LAWREY, Matt9746
        SMITH, Nick16735

        Labour and Greens don’t need more PR spin doctors, they actually need to grow a brain and work together to win elections so they can actually implement more left leaning policy.

        We have Nick Smith because of the failure of Labour and Greens to stop him by collaborating aka Northland style.

        The combined votes show, Nelson did not want Smith to represent them.

        • Cinny 8.2.2.1

          Rachel will take it out next election, she’s fantastic for a new candidate, was a little bit skeptical to start with, but massively impressed over the course of her campaign, she’ll be a wonderful MP for Nelson

          It was due to the instructions on a will and accompanying donation that the Greens went for gold in Nelson. On the upside at least it won’t require a byelection, Matt is on the NCC.

          As for smith, he is delusional, maybe he should give evangelism, or car sales a shot, he won’t last another election.

          • greywarshark 8.2.2.1.1

            what interesting snippets of info Cinny. Are you saying that Matt was helped by a kindly bequest. I wondered about their choice not to combine against rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

  9. Bearded Git 9

    Another day another patently stupid policy dumped by Labour. Oh my coffee tastes good each morning.

    Twyford was excellent on Checkpoint last night.

  10. Lucy 10

    Whilst the policy was at the behest of the previous government the people who implemented and executed the policy with such vigour are still there. Will they be as happy to implement a more charitable policy? I would seriously doubt it.

    • Rosemary McDonald 10.1

      My thoughts exactly. I have said on more than one occasion that public servants do actually have free will. They have chosen to follow orders. They have a union ffs!

      Enablers.

      Bring on Nuremberg Aotearoa…..http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/87527119/Woman-found-dead-had-not-committed-benefit-fraud

      • greywarshark 10.1.1

        Bit tough Rosemary. The past regime saw economists that didn’t follow ‘The Line’ not given jobs. Conform, conform or be blasted. Just think about being hunted down by neo-lib Daleks. There wasn’t much free will actually. Even the free market had big hooks.

        • Rosemary McDonald 10.1.1.1

          “Conform, conform or be blasted. Just think about being hunted down by neo-lib Daleks. There wasn’t much free will actually. ”

          You reckon, greywarshark?

          Oh, there’s always free will…if one chooses to follow one’s conscience rather than being hobbled and gagged by love of a decent salary and reputation.

          Some of us came to a place some time back when, by virtue of choosing the line of most resistance, we found ourselves with nothing left to lose after being blasted.

          Daleks? I see them more as Cybermen.

          Met and engaged with a few over the past few years…mostly at WINZ or Ministry of Health: Disability Support Services. The bureaucrats who took to the ‘kick ’em while they’re down’ philosophy that thrived under both Labour and National like pigs to wallows.

          I’d clear the lot of these gutless, soulless ones out…out, every last one of them!

          Its going to require real courage and true commitment to turn this ship around. No room for weakling yes people.

    • Wensleydale 10.2

      I think the government needs to keep a firm hand on the reins and a vigilant eye on the suit-wearing paper-shufflers responsible for gleefully implementing that policy. Anyone who steps out of line, or decides that perhaps certain aspects of the new policy could loosely be interpreted in an altogether different and less compassionate way, should get dragged face-down over broken glass. In public.

  11. Cinny 11

    Have always wondered who owned the meth testing and meth clean up companies. Have long suspected a money making rort within it all, assisted by the previous governments war on the poor.

    Big up’s to Phil Twyford, he is doing and will do a stellar job in Government 🙂

  12. Brigid 12

    “I think that has been drummed up and exploited by a meth testing industry that saw an opportunity to make a dollar.”

    It would be interesting to find out if there’s any connection between this industry and certain members of the previous government.

    Perhaps that’s giving the natz too much credit; perhaps they don’t even have the wit to set up such a gravy train. Perhaps they’re just too stupid for me to find the words to describe them with.

  13. Siobhan 13

    Unfortunately alot have damage has been done by Nationals policy between Landlords and tenants, and the (perceived)haves and havenots.

    Sites like TM forums, Stuff comments and people you accidentally talk to in the supermarket etc are overwhelmed by people who think State House tenants are all rampant meth users, and no tweaking of policy will shift this.

    I’m actually going to go out on a limb and suggest we need a Minister of Public Perceptions and Education, who through various mediums works at undoing the class divides, misinformation and down right bulls hit that have been so lovingly nurtured over the last 9 years (and longer).

    • red-blooded 13.1

      “Minister of Public Perceptions and Education”? No way! Ever read 1984? The Ministry of Truth? If we want this government to be seen as untruthful, manipulative propaganda pushing brainwashers, then set up such a ministry.

      Twyford seems to be doing a good job. He was well on top of this portfolio in the shadow cabinet and while there are lots of challenges, he’s making a good start.

    • Jum 13.2

      Siobhan,

      You are right in that the government has to, on a daily basis, let the people know what the Labour Government is doing and why, and making it clear that a past national govt has damaged society when that has occurred.
      Labour has always assumed that the majority of New Zealanders actually know and care what’s happening to their fellow New Zealanders; they don’t.
      So trusting the media to tell both sides of the story has never been successful for Labour.
      Mainstream media has been bought and sold for private profit.
      Labour MPs have to act as media disseminators for New Zealanders. That is not propaganda, Red-blooded; that is sharing all sides of the story.
      I’ve seen the 1984 film, read the story and seen the play – I think you’re actually describing the shadow-antics of the national party.

      • red-blooded 13.2.1

        Getting your story out is NOT the same as having a Ministry of Public Perceptions and Education. Please note that I was commenting about perception – it would be entirely counterproductive to set up what would inevitably be seen as a Ministry of Spin. It would open the government up to attack as more than “Nanny State” (which was the label used to undermine the last Labour led government) – it would be seen as Big Brother and nothing that came out of such a ministry would be seen as trustworthy.

        “Sharing all sides of the story” is quite different from “educating” people into sharing one particular point of view.

        Ask yourself – how would you see such a ministry if it was pushing the perspective of a right wing government? Well, guess what – that’s how many others would see it while selling a left-leaning government’s message.

        Anyway, it’s a daft suggestion (sorry, Siobhan, but it is) and it’s not going to happen. Yes, MPs and other need to use all possible means to tell our side of the story, but no, we don’t need a Ministry of Truth.

  14. David Mac 14

    Yeah, I think we saw a number of testing agencies pop-up because there’s money to made from hyping up fear. Hopefully they’ll move on to a bogus antidote for Myrtle Rust.

    They use age-old bait and switch techniques: “Oh the test you’ve had done just informs us that there is residue in the house. To determine how much and where will require the purchase of our ‘This week only’ Mega Lab offer”, $995.00.

    The situation is compounded by a few Real Estate franchises. In search of a point of difference advertising their Rental Management services alongside claims like ‘Get management or your next rental from the company that insists on P Tests.’

    • patricia bremner 14.1

      Hi David Mac. Don’t think there is any money in plants affected by Myrtle rust so it is not a likely next target for these hangers on!!

      I still wonder about Bill’s blue shirt brigade, don’t you? Who was funding them? What was their purpose? Just another systems rort by a questionable crowd.

      There always appears to be money making at others expense in the background, you know what they say “follow the money”.

      Some of these companies which sprang up should be charged with fraud if they fudged or exaggerated the results and caused hardship by so doing.

      • David Mac 14.1.1

        Hi Pat, I think much of why this lot of hyping up fear traders did well is because they got Govt buy-in. Not really criminal, cashing in on our human fragility. The Myrtle Rust-Busters Govt contract to dust NZ with icing sugar would be a handy earn. Shame about the results.

        I’ve been trying to think of areas where merchants sell their wares on the back of fear and I guess anything that relates to our security or peace of mind does. Mole-mapping, insurance, baby capsules.

  15. Brigid 15

    The Real Estate Institute even says
    “Until now, there has been no standard across the country
    for methamphetamine testing or decontamination, which has resulted in some scaremongering and mis-information for members of the public around these processes.
    For example, it was not uncommon for a purchaser and vendor
    to test the same property but receive entirely different results. The Standard is a leap forward in preventing this kind of situation.”
    https://www.reinz.co.nz/Media/Default/REINZ%20Press/2017%20June/20170629%20-%20Meth%20standards.pdf

  16. savenz 16

    I’d like to see a bit more about P aimed at a wider audience. What about private rentals contaminated? Middle NZ? So many people’s lives destroyed by this curse. Stop the fucking stuff getting in, should be a priority as well as a cheap way to clean the homes up.

    Labour and Greens need to actually treat each day as a pre Election Day. Try to work policy for the WIDER good and also TALK about the wider good of each policy.

    If everything is always framed as being for the state renter’s good, the P addicts benefit etc etc – it’s not a message that will NOT resinate with middle NZ in many cases. Labour and Greens need to talk a more inclusive message.

    Increasingly much of Labour and Green’s discourse seem to concentrate on a small percentage of the population in poverty which is understandable but then not actually ever include the wider population and how their policy will be good for them too. They then wonder why National had a wider percentage of votes even they are major destroyers of this country.

    Labour then also concentrate on global business only aka TPPA.

    So increasingly middle NZ is not actually included in left political announcements until about 6 months before each election (and even then just in terms of them paying more or less taxes in many cases) and then they wonder why National gets middle NZ votes.

    One of the main priorities should be Labour and Greens having some sense of self preservation so National don’t win next election. If every policy appears to be about protecting global business (TPPA) or state renters then it’s a small percentage of the population they are speaking too, and then they wonder why middle NZ doesn’t vote for them.

    Middle NZ have little political voice in terms of lobby groups as they are too busy working and raising families, but my, they do know how to tick a box extremely well come election time and can be relied on, to get to the voting booth.

  17. The Chairman 17

    While it’s good things are going to hopefully improve, do we have any indication of what the “support” approach the Minister has highlighted will look like on the ground?

    Why did the Minster fail to disclose this?

  18. Tanz 18

    Phil Twyford can’t even answer questions in the House properly, like his frontbench mates, he is coming across as arrogant and as a smart alec. This new govt is rubbish so far, even the MSM are picking up on it.

    So, we will have more P Houses because of this and no accountability, typical leftie rot from Labour. How does anyone count Winston as right wing!

  19. timeforacupoftea 19

    Well done Twitford, we all want state houses and free drugs.

  20. savenz 20

    The reality crack down on P is a help to everyone except P dealers.

    Help everyone. Addicts, renters, landlords, homeowners, employers, employees, families, health service, justice, prisons … etc

    The P epidemic has been a curse for all!

    Make policy that is holistic and helps everyone.

    Then put policy into 3 areas..

    Stopping P getting into the country and being sold here.
    Decontaminating P quickly and cheaply – as so much is effected from property to wastewater.
    Rehab for P users.

    Labour needs to get holistic in policy and not piecemeal. Don’t just be an ambulance at the bottom – problems need to be tackled across the board to stop the problem.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      There is no way to cut off supply. But there is a way to reduce demand: reduce inequality: it’s directly linked to mental health and drug abuse.

      • savenz 20.1.1

        Yes you can cut off supply by customs and border control and also cracking down on the people manufacturing it.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1.1.1

          [citation needed]

          • savenz 20.1.1.1.1

            ah, I would think that’s common sense. You don’t need a citation to work out that cutting off supply of raw ingredients and manufacturer’s is going to reduce P.

            We could spend 64+ million on consultants and 9 years trying to work it out like National’s war on P, and evict 900 people and sell off state houses cheap while putting people into 1 room motels for $1000p/w that seems to be more an enablement of P with less customs, less police, less rehabilitation, less IRD following people that have a lot of assets but no taxable income, but I would hope Labour + Green might be able to do a bit better than that.

  21. Tanz 21

    And how is child poverty being reduced as Ardern poses for Vogue. We have a wanna be celebrity PM…. How about being just a PM and following through on that swag of pre-election promises (many now watered down or backtracked on). Ah well, poverty won’t change..
    (there were a couple of Vogue like spreads even as Winston was deciding). Would Clark approve of such ‘look at me’ stunts??

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1

      Ah, the politics of envy 😆

    • dv 21.2

      Got an answer yet?

      Phil Twyford can’t even answer questions in the House properl

      Tanz-Give a linked example.

    • Incognito 21.3

      No chocolate fish for Jacinda till she has delivered on all election promises. What on Earth was she thinking going on the cover of some rag??

  22. Michael 22

    I think Twyford’s overrated and incapable of delivering his government’s camapign promises. However, he’s done the right thing here by overruling his bureaucrats and telling them not to be such arseholes. It does, however, remain to be seen whether HNZ bureaucrats will obey their new Minister or whether they will work around, undermine, or even sabotage him, as has been known to happen to previous Labour Ministers.

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