Thursday, October 27, 2016

Housing New Zealand lied on P-tests

For the past few years Housing New Zealand has been evicting tenants on the basis of dodgy tests for methamphetamine residue. Now it turns out that they had been warned repeatedly that the tests were not suitable for that purpose:

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.

The harm caused here is significant - and not just from evictions and cleanup fees. People's children have been taken on the basis of HNZC's dodgy tests. To inflict this harm on the basis of a test known to be unsuitable goes beyond mere negligence into knowing wrongdoing. And HNZC and its management must be held accountable for it. They could start by repaying all the money they wrongfully demanded, removing all blacklists, and giving their victims their houses back. Sadly, I expect they'll refuse to admit wrongdoing, and rely on their victims being too poor to pursue it through the courts.