Housing NZ to reimburse 800 affected by meth testing

By Jessica Tyson

Housing New Zealand has admitted they were wrong in their response to methamphetamine contamination in houses and plans to compensate around 800 tenants who suffered as a result.

It comes after it was proved in a report in May there were no risk to humans from third-hand exposure to houses where meth was consumed, and $100mil was spent cleaning and testing state houses.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says the meth debacle was a systemic failure of government that hurt a lot of people.

“Housing NZ acknowledges that around 800 tenants suffered by either losing their tenancies, losing their possessions, being suspended from the public housing waiting list, negative effects on their credit ratings or, in the worst cases, being made homeless."

He says the organisation will redress the hardship these tenants faced.

“This will be done on a case-by-case basis and the organisation will look to reimburse costs tenants incurred, and make discretionary grants to cover expenses such as moving costs and furniture replacement.”

Twyford says under the helm of Chief Executive Andrew McKenzie, Housing NZ is a very different organisation to what it was during the former government.

“It has a new focus on sustaining tenancies, being a compassionate landlord and treating drug addiction as a health issue.”