No place at home for meth

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

METH. P. Pure. Crystal Meth. Crank. Rock.

Ice . . . Call it what you will, methamphetamine is a problem for too many of our families and communities.

P is highly addictive and personality-disrupting to the individual.

The misuse of the drug and its precursors wrecks families and disrupts communities.

It also affects the buildings and homes where the drug is used.

P smoked in a room can cause that room to be a health risk because the contaminant lingers in porous materials including the walls and ceilings, carpets and curtains after the smoker has moved on.

Exposure to a methamphetaminecontaminated room can cause breathing problems, respiratory irritation, skin and eye irritation, headaches, nausea and dizziness. It particularly affects the young and elderly.

If you are buying a house, not only should you have a builder inspect the structural soundness of the property, but you should also have the house tested for methamphetamine, as part of the due diligence process.

In my view, tenants and prospective buyers are entitled to demand evidence to ensure that they are moving into a clean house and to ask for proof of that.

Risking your own health, or the health of your loved ones, isn't a gamble anyone should have to take.

So I was pleased that Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith announced work is under way to develop a new New Zealand standard that will cover the testing and decontamination of meth-contaminated properties, including places where meth has been manufactured (meth labs) or used (smoked).

The standards will cover testing methods, a maximum contamination threshold and the level of work required once that threshold had been reached, but testing won't be mandatory.

Meanwhile, my colleague Andrew Bayly, the MP for Hunua, is going to sponsor a Member's Bill to give landlords the right to enter the properties they own with notice to test for P, and to evacuate tenants if a house is found uninhabitable.

The proposed legislation from Mr Bayly will also prevent landlords from knowingly renting P-contaminated properties and require them to inform tenants as soon as contamination is revealed.

This is good news for us all the bill will offer protection to both landlords and tenants against this growing problem.