Question: Would you feel happy with your child crawling around on the floor of a house that had had “P/Meth” smoked in it?
There may be a few that would go out on a limb and say “no worries” but I’ll guess that 99.9% of you wouldn’t take that risk – irrespective of what the Chief Government Scientist has to say on the matter. I know I wouldn’t put my family at risk – nor would I knowingly rent out a meth tainted property.
However, since I started writing this post, I have been doing a little more research and, by coincidence, I happened to attend a fascinating talk from Andrew King, Chief Executive of Auckland Property Investors Association on Monday evening in Tauranga.
Being informed has really made me reconsider my assumptions and position on the whole topic.
I’ve learnt this:
• Housing New Zealand has continued to apply levels for Meth testing that were only intended for houses where Meth was being manufactured
• 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
• Simply put. The intention for the levels were such that, if a former meth lab was cleaned to a permitted level, it could confidently be said that the levels of all the toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing process would be safe
• HOWEVER, for houses where methamphetamine was consumed but not manufactured the level was way lower than it had to be. The Ministry interpreted guidelines for properties where Meth had been manufactured and, in turn, applied them across the board – carté blanche
• The main reason is that the science says that it’s not the “Meth” that’s the dangerous contaminant but, instead, the manufacturing process/materials that are used.
It’s an unfortunate reality but Meth is in our environment. It’s more and more common but labs aren’t.
In 2016, Massey University toxicologist Dr Nick Kim showed that every bank note collected in Auckland supermarkets, corner stores, bakeries, and takeaway bars carried traces of methamphetamine, many of them well above health department guidelines.
The previous year, more than 400 tenants were evicted from State Houses throughout New Zealand because traces of methamphetamine had been detected in their homes. Kim argued that the health department’s tests were far too sensitive. He said the trivial amounts of meth detected posed no threat to anybody’s health, so the tenants had been wrongfully evicted.
See an article from April 2017 https://www.stuff.co.nz/…/brockie-our-money-is-filthy-but-m… on the topic.
The Housing Ministry and Minister at the time were unwilling to listen to the critics – who were using science based facts and trying to help the Ministry and Senior Ministers to understand why a single measure wasn’t the right measure for all.
Fortunately, sanity seems to be returning – note, I am not suggesting it’s because of our new government but kudos to Sir Peter Gluckman for making the call he did. It’s overdue.
However, I reckon we have a lot to play out yet. Insurance, Private Investors class action……..lots to come…