Housing NZ to reimburse hundreds evicted on flawed meth testing

by Jo Moir / 20 September, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - Meth

A woman who was evicted from her state home. Photo / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Housing New Zealand has committed to compensating hundreds of tenants it evicted from state homes based on bogus meth testing, some of whom were made homeless.

A report ordered by Housing Minister Phil Twyford has found roughly 800 tenants suffered as a result of the agency's approach which it said was "wrong and ignored many of the issues".

Affected tenants are expected to receive between $2500 and $3000, which would cost up to $2.4 million.

They will also receive a formal apology from Housing NZ.

Mr Twyford said the approach to methamphetamine from 2013 was a "moral and fiscal failure'' that led to the "wellbeing of tenants being ignored''.

Housing NZ chief executive Andrew McKenzie said he apologised in June to the tenants and families affected and does so again to those who had their lives "disrupted''.

"We plan to put things right, and that means not just looking to re-house those tenants who had their tenancies ended but to provide other forms of assistance,'' he said.

Mr McKenzie said the agency would assess each individual's case and work to put it right.

Housing NZ will offer a range of assistance options including discretionary grants for household items and moving costs, cancellation of all methamphetamine-related debt and a refund of any money paid and re-housing of tenants who used to be HNZ tenants but were moved.

The report said Housing NZ had failed, in some individual cases, to follow the principles of natural justice.

In May, a report by the prime minister's chief science adviser found there has never been a documented case of someone getting sick from third-hand exposure to meth.

It followed a warning from the country's top scientists saying New Zealand has been gripped by the hysteria of people testing their homes for meth.

Mr Twyford at the time said dodgy meth contamination rules had led to hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted and needless clean-ups and evictions.

Since 2015, Housing NZ has pursued dozens of tenants through the Tenancy Tribunal for the cost of testing and cleaning state houses where traces of methamphetamine had been found.

After the release of the report, RNZ in August reported it took Housing NZ nearly a month after learning the meth testing regime was bogus before it called off the debt collectors.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

Latest

The new robotic surgery helping vaginal mesh removal
108377 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Health

The new robotic surgery helping vaginal mesh remov…

by Ruth Nichol

Women with complications caused by deeply embedded vaginal mesh are being aided by a pioneering surgical technique.

Read more
A beautiful mind: What people with Alzheimer's can teach us
108544 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Health

A beautiful mind: What people with Alzheimer's can…

by Fergus Riley

North Auckland farmer Fergus Riley has uncovered many important lessons in caring for his father Peter, who has Alzheimer’s.

Read more
When biodegradable plastic is not actually biodegradable
108562 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Planet

When biodegradable plastic is not actually biodegr…

by Isabel Thomlinson

A study on biodegradable plastic bags found they were still intact after three years spent either at sea or buried underground.

Read more
Brexit-torn England needs the Cricket World Cup more than we do
108521 2019-07-18 10:26:20Z World

Brexit-torn England needs the Cricket World Cup mo…

by The Listener

Amid the agony of defeat, we must remember that the UK is in such terrible shape politically that it deserves to cherish this flickering flame of...

Read more
Trades Hall bombing case re-opened, evidence released
108515 2019-07-18 00:00:00Z Crime

Trades Hall bombing case re-opened, evidence relea…

by RNZ

Caretaker and unionist Ernie Abbott was killed almost instantly when he picked up the suitcase containing the bomb.

Read more
Where to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing
108504 2019-07-18 00:00:00Z What's on

Where to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing

by The Listener

On the big screen, the small screen, the page or the ceiling, here's where you can toast the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Read more
Why we need to plant more native trees than pines
108089 2019-07-18 00:00:00Z Planet

Why we need to plant more native trees than pines

by Jane Clifton

We do need more trees, but native species may be a better long-term choice than pine trees.

Read more
How to eat a New Zealand forest, and other secrets
108277 2019-07-18 00:00:00Z Planet

How to eat a New Zealand forest, and other secrets…

by Sally Blundell

Our native forests provide food and natural medicines, support jobs, hinder erosion and play a major role in climate-change mitigation.

Read more