Meth users stopping vulnerable from getting state homes

  • Paula Bennett
Social Housing

P-users are delaying vulnerable people from getting access to social housing and have forced Housing New Zealand to demolish 14 contaminated homes in three years, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

 “Last year Housing New Zealand (HNZ) decontaminated nearly 230 meth infected homes costing taxpayers $2.3-million,” she says.

“We will not tolerate any meth use in HNZ properties,” Mrs Bennett says.

The numbers of HNZ homes decontaminated increased significantly last year to 229 from 28 a year earlier.  At the end of August this year, 174 houses had been decontaminated.

HNZ has increased testing after a project in Whanganui last year showed contamination was better managed by testing whenever meth use is suspected.

That’s because HNZ are working more closely with police and focussing more on meth use as opposed to previously targeting only home-based drug manufacturing, Mrs Bennett says.

“Every home that took months to decontaminate, and some take three months to fix, could have been a new home for vulnerable people on the housing register.

“We are spending more than ever on social housing.  Last year HNZ spent close to $400-million on home maintenance and upgrades for tenants, a record amount,” Mrs Bennett says.

“While HNZ is improving and fixing up its stock, P-users and cooks have caused so much damage to 14 homes since 2012 they had be demolished and three more are due to be demolished,” she says.

“The social housing contract is a two-way street. We give people most in need a state house.  Tenants pay 25 per cent of their benefit or income in rent - the average tenants pay is $119.52 a week.

“That is a privilege and abuse of that privilege won’t be tolerated,” Mrs Bennett says.