Housing NZ has admitted evicting state house tenants if even tiny amounts of meth contamination is found on the property.
It turns out the minimum reading needed to force homelessness on the people they are supposed to be housing is similar to the trace amounts found on your average five dollar bill. That being the case, I assume Sir Edmund Hillary’s face will be swiftly removed from our banknotes because of his proven association with P.
Seriously, folks, when Housing NZ admits that the testing regime is not fit for purpose, but they are going to rely on it anyway, heads need to roll. At the last count, the National Government had an entire cabinet full of Ministers avoiding responsibility for housing. Surely one of them must have enough brains to know that this hounding of the poor and working poor in a failed war on drugs is counter productive and cruel?
Housing NZ’s spokeswomble Charlie Mitchell said there was zero tolerance for illegal activity, but 100% tolerance for eviction without substantive cause, acknowledging that the meth guidelines it applied to its houses was never intended to assess the smoking of the drug and sheepishly admitting the testing was “not entirely suitable” .
Nevertheless, Mr Mitchell said the agency would continue to evict tenants in the meantime. Because it can.
“But as I say when people are using meth within our properties, and when we’re going through the appropriate steps to carry out testing … it’s appropriate for us to act on that.”
In effect, Housing NZ are saying that the fact that they decide to test at all is sufficient reason to evict. No evidence of actual use by the tenants is required.
Green Party MP Marama Davidson wants a moratorium on evictions to be considered until reliable testing is available.
“Testing for P (meth) is yet another way for the government to rid itself of its responsibility to provide state housing,” says Mrs Davidson.
She’s dead right. Even the private Real Estate industry can see the problem. But this is government department hell bent on doing the wrong thing, no matter what. And as such, they simply reflect the hopeless leadership of the many ministers currently promoting the business interests of private landlords in Aotearoa instead of tackling homelessness and the related drop in home ownership.
They answer is simple. Don’t evict state house tenants, evict the government.