Wednesday, June 06, 2018

A tiny start

When the government's Chief Science Adviser revealed that the meth-testing industry was a scam, and that thousands of people had been evicted from their homes under false pretences, Housing New Zealand's initial reaction was to stonewall and pretend it was nothing to do with them. Now, they've taken a tiny first step towards admitting responsibility:

Housing New Zealand chief executive Andrew McKenzie has apologised to state housing tenants whose lives were disrupted by evictions based on bogus methamphetamine levels.

He also said Housing New Zealand's (HNZ's) blacklist of tenants banned from going into state houses has been wiped clean, and tenants who incurred costs should be paid back.

"We really regret the way this has played out and we certainly apologise to all those people who had their lives disputed as we've shifted them out of their homes," McKenzie told Radio New Zealand today.

Which sounds good, but note what he's not doing: promising that those debts will be wiped, and promising to compensate victims for the additional costs (and hurt and humiliation) Housing New Zealand's evictions imposed on them. People were literally left homeless, many were forced into debt to WINZ for emergency housing, one was forced to destroy all her possessions. And Housing New Zealand owes them a little more than minimising talk of "disruption" and that they're not going to pursue them for bogus and odious "debt".

What it does owe them is Andrew McKenzie's head on a spike. Because he presided over all of this, he implemented the harsh and oppressive policy of evictions, and he needs to be held accountable for that. A mere sacking doesn't even begin to compare to making someone intentionally homeless - but it would be a tiny start.