19 Dec 2017

'Useless' meth eviction guidelines to be changed - Twyford

1:50 pm on 19 December 2017

People wrongly evicted from meth-contaminated state houses may be placed at the top of any waiting lists, according to the government.

Labour Party campaign chair for the 2017 election Phil Twyford in the RNZ Auckland studio.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Housing Minster Phil Twyford has said millions of dollars had been wasted on meth testing and a moral panic had been created.

He said today he was waiting for advice to change the current guidelines, describing them as "pretty useless".

"It can't distinguish between genuine contamination that's a risk to someone's health and a residue that is not a risk to anyone's health."

There will be a lot of people who had been unfairly evicted, and they should be prioritised on social housing waiting lists, said Mr Twyford.

"I would think that would be an important natural justice approach to the situation if we get to that point, but the first point is what we do about that standard."

He would not comment on whether those people should receive any compensation.

National's housing spokesperson Michael Woodhouse said under the previous government, his party was already trying to change the guidelines.

"We realised the threshold for meth testing was set a little high and we needed to come to a sensible arrangement," he said.

"I think that has been drummed up and exploited by a meth testing industry that saw an opportunity to make a dollar."

Mr Twyford has also apologised for the treatment of a man who spent 58 weeks in emergency housing in a motel - costing the government $44,000 - after traces of methamphetamine were found in his home.

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