The Dim-Post

May 24, 2016

New Zealand and New Zealand

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 2:01 pm

There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in the other city, even though they’re clearly visible. To notice the other city and react to it is to be in Breach and draws the attention of the secret police. It’s a pretty good book.

It’s also kind of what’s happening in New Zealand right now. Some of the media and public are in a state of Breach. ‘Oh yeah,’ we’re saying, ‘Now that you mention it, I have noticed that our cities are filled with homeless people. What’s up with that?’ Meanwhile the government is enthusiastically Unseeing:

Housing Minister Nick Smith is calling the recent surge in homelessness a figment of people’s imagination.

Newshub spoke to a group of 50 social workers who said families living in garages is common, including one case of a family with two young kids who had been living in a garage for two years.

Some families are paying almost $400 a week to put a garage roof over their heads, and a social policy analyst says one in ten south Auckland properties has a garage tenant.

Many who can’t afford a house are finding themselves having to take out loans from Work and Income NZ (WINZ) to pay for motel accommodation.

There’s a lot of deliberate Seeing and Unseeing going around. We have record high immigration and thus economic growth, purely because increasing the population creates more economic activity. The government chooses to see this as the country getting wealthier, even though on a per capita basis we obviously aren’t. The increase in population and lack of increase in houses is (predictably) contributing to the housing crisis, but also makes the nominal value of existing homes increase in value. So home owners seem a lot richer, even though they haven’t done anything or created any value. And they are, historically, far more likely to vote than non home-owners. Benefits have to be withdrawn so the benefit numbers can be kept artificially low, so we can ‘see’ that the welfare reforms are succeeding. Housing New Zealand has to evict current tenants so that it can house new ones even as the housing stock deteriorates, and the dividends are maximised so the government can be seen to be running a surplus.

But all of this has social costs, and all those children growing up in garages and cars and overcrowded homes will, eventually have staggeringly gigantic fiscal costs, which is why its so important to Unsee it. The Finance Minister claims to be committed to a ‘social investment’ model of welfare, in which the government seeks to invest to minimise downstream costs, and if his government were really throwing families with eight children out of their homes and then burdening them with staggering debts then his model would be an utter failure.

87 Comments »

  1. The increase in population and lack of increase in houses is (predictably) contributing to the housing crisis, but also makes the nominal value of existing homes increase in value.

    That was not predictable.

    Auckland, Melbourne and Brisbane all had housing shortages in the wake of the GFC. They’ve all experienced population growth of similar levels and had rising house prices. Melbourne & Brisbane are going to have a housing surplus in 2018, with more than enough dwellings for everyone and rents to fall. Auckland is set to have its housing shortage get worse and worse until 2019, we will have rents rising until at least 2029 (the earliest prediction for return to surplus). No one could predict Auckland could be so inept.

    Auckland Council is the unseeing city – a visionary compact city is seen, land supply at the Auckland edge is reduced to less than a trickle. The proponents of this call it “environmentally friendly”.

    Auckland Council is the unseeing city – around Pukekohe, Kumeu, Orewa and Warkworth vast areas (30% larger than ever would have occurred around Auckland) are planned to sprawl. In Auckland itself high land prices increase the cost of development and apartments/urbanisation are stalled.

    It is very nice to see the Green Party positioning itself against the RUB and against the planned uber sprawl it creates.

    Comment by unaha-closp — May 24, 2016 @ 3:12 pm

  2. “It’s a pretty good book.”

    I’m surprised to hear you endorse something with so explicitly Marxist a premise.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — May 24, 2016 @ 5:08 pm

  3. “so explicitly Marxist a premise.”

    You mean the retro false consciousness stuff.It take me back to my student days and Herbert Marcuse, whose best work was probably done helping the CIA post World War Two

    Comment by Tinakori — May 24, 2016 @ 5:26 pm

  4. There’s a great number of people with not a lot of resources – but more than the homeless – who will snap up any low cost housing in Auckland.

    Not averse to having the govt build the huge number of houses that would be needed to soak up that and be able to cater for the homeless but it won’t be without considerable cost.

    We’re looking at 10s of thousands plus infrastructure plus getting the council to change its ways.

    Comment by NeilM — May 24, 2016 @ 6:02 pm

  5. Here’s a tip – don’t mention exactly how many children are in each of these families. Just “mother and her children” will provoke the same sympathy, while not raising the awkward questions that might come up when you say that there are eight.

    Comment by Gareth Wilson — May 24, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

  6. “So home owners seem a lot richer, even though they haven’t done anything or created any value.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, meet Generation Rentier.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — May 24, 2016 @ 6:48 pm

  7. “…while not raising the awkward questions that might come up when you say that there are eight.”

    I’m not a big fan of visiting the consequences of a sinning (literally?) mother on her children. But I guess I’m just a bit too soft hearted … .

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 24, 2016 @ 6:54 pm

  8. I should also add that Key & Co’s idea of a housing crisis would be if house prices went even just a bit Irish or Icelandic.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — May 24, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

  9. Yeah, GDP is nearly useless as a statistic. Inflation-adjusted (real) GDP per capita should be the baseline, the bare minimum, to constructing an even better measure.

    Comment by James Green — May 24, 2016 @ 7:59 pm

  10. @ comment 1. Auckland a housing crisis, Melbourne & Brisbane a housing suplus. Auckland incomplete mediocre public transport. Melbourne & Brisbane good public transport. Any link.

    On the social investment approach. Simon Chapple critiqued the govt approach in Forward Liability and Welfare Reform in New Zealand, Policy Quarterly, volume 9, issue 2, May 2013, pp 56-62. Govt using wrong investment measure, discounted welfare payment cash flow not cost-benefit, incentive is to get people off benefits and not care about the consequences. Another Bill English fail.

    Comment by Andrew R — May 24, 2016 @ 8:09 pm

  11. Two tiered society, right wing owned media churning out dumbed down entertainment instead of news, wierd weather, melting ice caps, increasing surveillance of ordinary citizens, did I miss the bit where we slipped through the portal into a dystopian novel?

    Comment by Corokia — May 24, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

  12. Interesting that our esteemed leader thought that the best thing to come out of our flag debate was the opportunity to discuss who we really are as a nation. Who would of thought it would turn out that we’re actually a bunch of selfish, greedy, hard-hearted pricks.

    Comment by McNulty — May 24, 2016 @ 9:08 pm

  13. The comments of Tinakori, NeilM and Gareth Wilson in this post are a tour de force demonstration of the superficiality of the nasty new Victorians who rule New Zealand.

    You should listen to yourselves. Your lack of empathy, charity and concern for your fellow human beings is disgusting.

    That is the key missing component in the debate about homelessness and poverty. New Zealanders should be ashamed and disgusted at the state of our society. Instead, an abandonment of the most basic sense of social engagement, a smug judgementalism, and a cruel indifference to the fate of others pervades our middle class like a miasma.

    Look at what thirty years of neoliberalism has done. We have become a country full of truly awful people.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 24, 2016 @ 9:13 pm

  14. Sanctuary @9.13 pm

    Hear, hear!!

    Comment by Steve Todd — May 24, 2016 @ 9:43 pm

  15. Danyl seems to have Unseen that the abovementioned woman with eight children _was probably using the house as a meth lab_ before she got chucked out

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 24, 2016 @ 9:56 pm

  16. @14 A is for Orses. Sanc puts it more nicely.

    Comment by paritutu — May 24, 2016 @ 10:04 pm

  17. But I agree Ministers have a couple of tin earned moments lately – like John Key’s “just go to WINZ”. A bit of 3rd termitis creeping in perhaps…

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 24, 2016 @ 10:08 pm

  18. @sanc – yeah, but we elected a left wing council twice. Such a caring bunch of lefties, so caring, so nurturing. Not a neoliberal amoungst them.

    Rents gone through the roof and people are living in cars, we have one of the slowest building rates in Australasia and rentiers are enriched to the core. The lefties in council plan rent increases for the next decade.

    Comment by Angus Robertson — May 24, 2016 @ 11:32 pm

  19. If the Auckland housing market is massively over priced and heading for a big correction then it wouldn’t make any sense for the govt to spend large amounts of money now.

    But if there wasn’t to be such a correction then the govt spending money may just throw fuel on the fire.

    Comment by Nelm — May 24, 2016 @ 11:57 pm

  20. “Your lack of empathy, charity and concern for your fellow human beings is disgusting.”

    Just for the record Sanc, how much empathy and concern do you feel for, say, Roger Douglas

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — May 25, 2016 @ 12:42 am

  21. “…Just for the record Sanc, how much empathy and concern do you feel for, say, Roger Douglas…”

    What the actual fuck has this got to do with anything? I mentioned in my initial post the febrile superficiality of the neo-Victorians in New Zealand. This sad attempt at a derail kinda puts you in that camp, don’t you think?

    Both Danyl here and Lew over at kiwipolitico have both putting their finger on symptoms of the fundamental malaise that afflicts the heart of our society now. To put it bluntly, New Zealand society is in a moral crisis. Bullshitting politicians are lauded as political geniuses by parish pump opinionated journalists who think a combined languid morality and aggressive cynicism is the height of journalistic sophistication. We live in a society where everyone in power preaches personal responsibility but no one has the guts to say the moral buck stops here. Our entire middle class is so corrupted by grasping materialism they’d rather look the other way than stand up and be counted, lest they be noticed and judged by someone who might affect their career prospects.

    Once we cared. We cared about apartheid in South Africa. We cared about nuclear disarmament. We cared about unemployment and poverty. We cared about things and we got angry about things that were wrong and needed to be put right. But we’ve lost our way, we’ve lost our morality and we’ve lost our empathy. A great moral affliction lies at the very soul of our society. Are we really now so immature, spoilt, cynical, amoral, and self-obsessed that uncomfortable truths about poverty can longer be faced but must be met by a frantic smokescreen of diversion, lest we actually glimpse what is in the mirror?

    We need to start caring again. We need to learn decency isn’t a government initiative we may or may not vote for.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 25, 2016 @ 3:20 am

  22. > We need to start caring again

    This is a perennial argument, which can be caricatured as follows:

    Lefty: You righties don’t care about poor people
    Righty: We do, we just don’t believe that giving them more free stuff is helpful

    A. (is not for orses)

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 3:42 am

  23. PS I wasn’t just shooting my mouth off about the meth thing in comment #14:

    “Social Development Ministry housing chief Carl Crafar said the family was evicted from the house last July due to the meth contamination.

    ‘They are currently not eligible for a Housing NZ house, and have admitted to using meth in their past three Housing NZ properties,’ he said.”

    I defy anyone, be they a right-wing “social investor” or left-wing “carer”, to fix that family.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 4:44 am

  24. Throwing eight children out onto the street isn’t goint to fix anything either, although it might make Mike Hoskings feel a little better.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 25, 2016 @ 5:05 am

  25. @Sanc

    What was HNZ supposed to say? “Aw, just stay on, we won’t worry about the meth”?

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 5:24 am

  26. @Antoine. Even Bill “Mr Pragmatism” English recognises that punishing the eight kids in the way that some are so enthusiastic to do (because their mum is a no-hoper) will just create eight more expensive meth-contaminated house problems further down the line.

    Comment by McNulty — May 25, 2016 @ 6:32 am

  27. Just for the record Sanc, how much empathy and concern do you feel for, say, Roger Douglas

    Is Douglas living in a car?

    Comment by Ross — May 25, 2016 @ 6:35 am

  28. Righty: We do, we just don’t believe that giving them more free stuff is helpful

    I think that completely misses the point that Sanc was making.

    Providing a hand up is not the same as providing a hand out.

    Comment by Ross — May 25, 2016 @ 6:40 am

  29. I regard the Government as having been extremely generous in putting this family up in a motel at taxpayer expense for the last year (the loan will never get repaid) after her last three state homes were contaminated with P.

    Comment by dpf — May 25, 2016 @ 6:56 am

  30. I think dpf actually expects that post to be taken seriously by grown ups. Jesus H. Christ. It would be funny if it was satire.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 25, 2016 @ 7:08 am

  31. > Even Bill “Mr Pragmatism” English recognises that punishing the eight kids in the way that some are so enthusiastic to do (because their mum is a no-hoper) will just create eight more expensive meth-contaminated house problems further down the line.

    Yes I’m sure he does and so do I.

    I can’t see that there’s any way of giving those kids a good start in life at this point.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 7:10 am

  32. #5 @Gareth Wilson “Here’s a tip – don’t mention exactly how many children are in each of these families. Just “mother and her children” will provoke the same sympathy, while not raising the awkward questions that might come up when you say that there are eight.” Wow. That’s pretty much the most hateful/shameful comment I’ve read on this blog.

    Comment by mutyala — May 25, 2016 @ 7:12 am

  33. @Ross

    > I think that completely misses the point that Sanc was making.

    Frankly, Sanc’s main point seemed to be ‘we are all d*(*&bags nowadays’.

    > Providing a hand up is not the same as providing a hand out.

    On that we can agree.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 7:14 am

  34. @dpf
    Anne Tolley has made it clear that the money spent on putting up the family in a motel was a loan and it is expected that it will be paid back. I guess this makes the government extremely generous in the same way that loan sharks are extremely generous when they dish out cash to desperate people who have no absolutely hope of paying it back.

    Comment by McNulty — May 25, 2016 @ 7:50 am

  35. “What the actual fuck has this got to do with anything?”

    Because you were criticising others for lacking empathy with those that they feel haven’t earned it, but you obviously also lack empathy for those you think don’t deserve it. You have different criteria, but it makes your appeals to universal humanism quite hollow.

    As for my being in the camp with Key et al, didn’t you consign me to that camp five years ago?

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — May 25, 2016 @ 8:35 am

  36. @McNulty

    What do you think the Government should have done in this case?

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 8:47 am

  37. Just “mother and her children” will provoke the same sympathy, while not raising the awkward questions that might come up when you say that there are eight.

    Weirdly enough, that does seem to be how a lot of people do what they misleadingly refer to as “thinking” about an issue: ignore the substance and instead seize on some irrelevant aspect that marks the people involved as either “good” or “bad” depending on your personal prejudices, then form views to fit the “good” or “bad” narrative.

    Disclaimer: My own personal prejudice is very much against people who pop out sprogs like children were just shit that happens to the sexually active. Thing is, that’s not relevant to the post.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 25, 2016 @ 9:50 am

  38. Reblogged this on Talking Southern Auckland and commented:
    The Budget can already be termed The Do Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone Budget given that the number one issue – housing will not be even addressed in the urgency and respect that it needs and that the polls (78% of all voters and 61% of National Voters according to Reid Research) demand.

    With Key personally commenting also on the Greens rail and sea freight policy you know the Prime Minister (but not the Government) is on his last legs.

    With Bond and OCR rates so low this is the time to build the infrastructure including housing ready for the next economic boom. One has to remember in Macro Economics surpluses take money out of the economy so I have no idea why English is wanting to do that given inflation is 0%.

    There is so much to do but the Prime Minister is caught like a deer in the headlights wedded to his polls which are fast showing a disapproval of him.

    And while Key looks to Labour for that knife I suggest looking inwards instead. Remember Shipley vs Bolger especially with Winston in the comeback trail AGAIN.

    Comment by Ben Ross - Talking Auckland — May 25, 2016 @ 9:52 am

  39. after her last three state homes were contaminated with P

    I’m interested in this ‘contaminated with P’ thing. If someone smokes P in a house does that mean the house is ‘contaminated with P’? All of the websites for companies that sell P testing products seem to indicate ‘Yes’, but smoking the substance, while not ideal, sure, is so much less toxic than manufacturing it. Is it significantly worse than smoking inside the house? (I honestly don’t know the answer to this). Should the effective punishment for operating a P lab and consuming the drug be the same? Is there a regulatory environment around these P tests (I’ve taken a look at the HNZ site and the answer seems to be no).

    Comment by danylmc — May 25, 2016 @ 9:52 am

  40. Well, I guess in the case of the meth lady and her eight kids once upon a time the kids would have been separated from their parents and separated from one another and put in the care of the olden days equivalent of CYPF and placed in children’s homes or with foster families and only been allowed to see their parents every six months and then only after their folks had gone through the meth equivalent of drying out and atoned for their many sins. Nowadays of course when we have far less sympathy and empathy for the unfortunate we keep the family together in a state rental house and after they contaminate three in a row with meth we put them up in a motel and whack them with an entirely notional debt that will never be repaid while they serve out their one year ban and become eligible for another state rental property. We truly have become a heartless and uncaring society. They did things so much better back in those more empathetic times.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 25, 2016 @ 9:56 am

  41. > Should the effective punishment for operating a P lab and consuming the drug be the same?

    Presumably not? And surely it is not the same now. If you are caught operating a P lab you will (deservedly) go to jail a whole bunch, while if someone has merely smoked it in your HNZ house, you just get evicted…?

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 10:00 am

  42. > My own personal prejudice is very much against people who pop out sprogs like children were just shit that happens to the sexually active

    There has got to be a better way of saying that

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 10:02 am

  43. @ Antoine: What do you think the Government should have done in this case? Since this govt has now been in power for years, how about we consider some of the things it should NOT have done, like put its collective thumb on its forehead and said “Not my problem!

    Comment by McNulty — May 25, 2016 @ 10:13 am

  44. If you are caught operating a P lab you will (deservedly) go to jail a whole bunch, while if someone has merely smoked it in your HNZ house, you just get evicted…?

    A house that has had a lab in it and a house in which someone has smoked P are going to look very different on a test. The lab house is going to need to be decontaminated and refitted because it’ll be too toxic for habitation. I’m no expert but suspect the health risks of living in a house in which meth has merely been smoked, compared to a lab contamination are minimal. It’ll still show up on a test though, and get you kicked out.

    Comment by danylmc — May 25, 2016 @ 10:16 am

  45. > suspect the health risks of living in a house in which meth has merely been smoked, compared to a lab contamination are minimal

    Google says they’re actually still pretty bad (although Google may be over-reacting)

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 10:29 am

  46. @McNulty, you dodged the question

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 10:29 am

  47. I’m no expert but suspect the health risks of living in a house in which meth has merely been smoked, compared to a lab contamination are minimal. It’ll still show up on a test though, and get you kicked out.

    That’s pretty much how the rest of NZ’s drug testing industry works, so it’s a pretty safe suspicion.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 25, 2016 @ 10:57 am

  48. The cost of decontaminating a house that has had P used or manufactured in depends on the degree of contamination – anything from $1200 to $96,000. Even a house where P has only been smoked in must be decontaminated. The real concern should be for the children who would have been exposed to this.

    BOF

    Comment by BOF — May 25, 2016 @ 11:15 am

  49. “We just don’t believe that giving them more free stuff is helpful.”

    In what reality is not giving shelter to people who need shelter unhelpful?

    We are talking about people who have shown repeatedly that they can’t respond to negative incentives, so hoping that more negative incentives will work is insane.

    Look, we can’t magic them away, but we can ameliorate their suffering and the negative effects they have on the rest of society. Yes, it does lead to freeloading, but the alternative is worse.

    Comment by L — May 25, 2016 @ 11:17 am

  50. > Look, we can’t magic them away, but we can ameliorate their suffering and the negative effects they have on the rest of society.

    How?

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 11:21 am

  51. @Antoine: I am saying that the current housing crisis (sorry, “challenge”) is a completely foreseeable result of this government’s policy settings ie 1. Poor people are responsible for the predicament they find themselves in 2. On no account must we discourage property speculation even though people wishing to invest cannot get anything remotely approaching the returns they can expect from buying multiple houses and collecting big time from the ensuing capital gain.
    Until those policy deficiencies are addressed, any other actions (say, limiting P smokers with large families to a mere three houses before biffing them back into the streets) really are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Comment by McNulty — May 25, 2016 @ 11:33 am

  52. @McNulty

    Fair enough

    I agree that some of this Govt’s policies have contributed to rising house prices

    I was more debating Danyl’s contention that “if this government were really throwing families with eight children out of their homes and then burdening them with staggering debts then [Bill English’s social investment] model would be an utter failure”. I don’t think it’s reasonable to pin this particular case on English.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 11:39 am

  53. “How?”

    You honestly have no idea? What planet are you from?

    Comment by L — May 25, 2016 @ 11:41 am

  54. Does anyone else see the irony in posters abusively accusing other posters of not caring?

    Comment by Robert Singers — May 25, 2016 @ 11:49 am

  55. > You honestly have no idea? What planet are you from?

    I honestly wanted to know what your ideas were

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 11:55 am

  56. Even a house where P has only been smoked in must be decontaminated.

    I get the feeling that meth is the new asbestos.
    There is definitely bank to be made in declaring houses uninhabitable until Specialist X is able to remediate the situation.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 25, 2016 @ 12:07 pm

  57. “I honestly wanted to know what your ideas were”

    Start by not throwing them out of a house and loading them up with debt (that we’ll have to pay anyway). It is cheaper to fix the house when they leave than it would be to subsidise temporary accommodation for a year. Danyl is correct in that smoking P in a house is being treated the same as manufacturing P in a house when it shouldn’t be.

    As for the rest, the usual solutions apply. State housing, providing full employment, and all the other things we used to do to ameliorate poverty. We could go further and provide meals in schools. It works well enough. I’m old enough to remember when our society did this (other than school meals), and I grew up in a pretty poor area.

    Comment by L — May 25, 2016 @ 12:57 pm

  58. Newsflash

    Bill English has just announced that the Budget will include a plan to sack the left wing Auckland fCouncil for insufficient action on housing issues in Auckland and place the running of the city in the hands of Commissioners. The Chief Commissioner will be Phil Twyford, who said. “I’m convinced something must be done in Auckland. There’s no point in the taxpayer pouring more money into the Auckland housing market when the urban boundary is so restrictive. All that spending will just lead to more housing and land inflation inside the existing boundary. Compassion has to be matched by action and Bill English made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

    Comment by Tinakori — May 25, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

  59. McNulty: “Even Bill “Mr Pragmatism” English recognises that punishing the eight kids in the way that some are so enthusiastic to do (because their mum is a no-hoper) will just create eight more expensive meth-contaminated house problems further down the line.”

    Or quite possibly even 8 more Fidel Castro wannabes.

    And Bashar al-Assad has a few ideas on declaring war on poverty. Tabun and sarin are better for kids than meth, methinks?

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — May 25, 2016 @ 2:17 pm

  60. Even a house where P has only been smoked in must be decontaminated.

    Does it? Why? I mean, I get that the residue is toxic, but so is the residue from tobacco smoke and we ain’t decontaminating houses and kicking families out into the street over that.

    Comment by danylmc — May 25, 2016 @ 2:36 pm

  61. Even a house where P has only been smoked in must be decontaminated.

    As per MoH guidelines “The Ministry of Health currently recommends that surface wipes for methamphetamine not exceed a concentration of 0.5 μg/100 cm2 as the acceptable post-remediation re-occupancy level for a dwelling that has been used as a clan meth lab.”

    Presumably a level below this would be acceptable for a household where meth was consumed as well.

    Interestingly, in terms of decontamination procedures meth pretty much follows what you would use for potential lead or asbestos particulate removal – ventilation, HEPA filter vacuum, washing down of hard surfaces, washing or disposal of soft/absorbent materials.

    From my understanding, it’s mostly the small that of VOCs drives people crazy. But that doesn’t make it inherently dangerous (well no more so than using hardcore paint-stripper would prompt you to decontaminate your house).

    Comment by Gregor W — May 25, 2016 @ 3:05 pm

  62. “The aggravation here is Housing New Zealand’s zero-tolerance policy, which is not connected to the Ministry of Health guidelines (which only cover clan lab remediation anyway), but is, so far as I can tell, triggered by any detection at all of methamphetamine residue in a building.

    The problem here, as toxicologists explained to the Science Media Centre back in March, is that residues from meth being smoked – as opposed to manufacture, which involves dangerous chemicals and real health risks – pose, at worst, a “minimal” risk of toxicity.”

    from – http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/this-is-crazy/
    which links to – http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2016/03/24/meth-contaminated-homes-whats-the-risk-expert-reaction/

    Comment by framu — May 25, 2016 @ 3:20 pm

  63. Also the MoH guidelines re toxicity are quite clear irrespective of HNZs opinion, though they do refer to clan labs rather than places of consumption.
    I suspect its more of an HNZ boondongle for preferred suppliers than a real health issue.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 25, 2016 @ 4:00 pm

  64. Robert Singers

    “Does anyone else see the irony in posters abusively accusing other posters of not caring?”

    Yep, its on a par with Sanctuary bewailing that we desperately need to figure out how to become a decent society again in one post and in the next accusing people of having mental health issues or condoning violence against those who don’t share his warped political views.

    Its like raaaaaaiiiiiiiin on your wedding day………………….

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — May 25, 2016 @ 6:22 pm

  65. Danyl
    I’m interested in this ‘contaminated with P’ thing. If someone smokes P in a house does that mean the house is ‘contaminated with P’? All of the websites for companies that sell P testing products seem to indicate ‘Yes’, but smoking the substance, while not ideal, sure, is so much less toxic than manufacturing it. Is it significantly worse than smoking inside the house? (I honestly don’t know the answer to this). Should the effective punishment for operating a P lab and consuming the drug be the same? Is there a regulatory environment around these P tests (I’ve taken a look at the HNZ site and the answer seems to be no).

    I doubt its as bad as manufacturing and the way its fixed isn’t as invasive as if there was a lab in the house but if a bunch of people have been smoking it for a while it wouldn’t be a pleasant environment to be in . Its interesting that the woman in question has had the misfortune to move into four houses that were contaminated by other people, I’d say the odds on her or her partner having nothing to do with the contamination are astronomical and she and her partner both get to state their case anonymously. I’d put money on a google search on their names revealing one or both of them being up on p related charges at some stage.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — May 25, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

  66. DPF said:
    I regard the Government as having been extremely generous in putting this family up in a motel at taxpayer expense for the last year (the loan will never get repaid) after her last three state homes were contaminated with P.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1)
    If the govt had any sort of idea about what they are doing about housing than there should have been emergency housing in place to deal with people who have no other options … certainly not $1200 a week motel accommodation. That is just insane,

    2)
    And while the loan may never get repaid, you can bet your bottom dollar that the govt will make sure that she pays back more than she can afford. And anytime she gets ahead, say her kids get old enough so she can get a part-time job, the amount she has to repay will go up as well. It will be a millstone around her neck forever.

    3) The tests don’t tell who did the contamination. She has been cleared of the contamination that occurred in her last home so it’s most likely her other two homes were contaminated by someone else as well. But say it was her 16 year old son who tried meth once while the mother was picking up the other kids from school – does that make it right to chuck the whole family out of their home? What if it was visitor that used while she slept? What if it was her ex who used purposefully because it would annoy her/get her in trouble?

    This entire incident shows that the govt is incompetent with our money, has no clue what to do about housing and doesn’t care a bean about the citizens they are meant to be governing especially vulnerable children.

    Comment by mjpledger — May 25, 2016 @ 6:57 pm

  67. “Does anyone else see the irony in posters abusively accusing other posters of not caring?”

    Yes

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — May 25, 2016 @ 8:14 pm

  68. 1)
    If the govt had any sort of idea about what they are doing about housing than there should have been emergency housing in place to deal with people who have no other options … certainly not $1200 a week motel accommodation. That is just insane,

    2)
    And while the loan may never get repaid, you can bet your bottom dollar that the govt will make sure that she pays back more than she can afford. And anytime she gets ahead, say her kids get old enough so she can get a part-time job, the amount she has to repay will go up as well. It will be a millstone around her neck forever.

    3) The tests don’t tell who did the contamination. She has been cleared of the contamination that occurred in her last home so it’s most likely her other two homes were contaminated by someone else as well. But say it was her 16 year old son who tried meth once while the mother was picking up the other kids from school – does that make it right to chuck the whole family out of their home? What if it was visitor that used while she slept? What if it was her ex who used purposefully because it would annoy her/get her in trouble?

    This entire incident shows that the govt is incompetent with our money, has no clue what to do about housing and doesn’t care a bean about the citizens they are meant to be governing especially vulnerable children.

    1 What do you suggest that have in place for someone with 8 [and counting, she had another in the hotel] kids who has a history of contaminating houses with p?

    2 I doubt she will be working for quite some time-if ever , absolute nonsense to say it’ll be a millstone around her neck forever. Its a very safe bet eventually the debt will be wiped.

    3 She must be the unluckiest woman in the world if she’s lived in four houses that tested positive for p that had nothing to do with her. Pull the other one .

    I’d say the govt has gone out of its way to keep a family who’s parents are workshy drug abusers and housed them when no one else will actually give them a place to live for reasons that should be obvious even to you . I’m sure this story is playing out well with the loseratti at the standard but once again most people who saw this story would be dumfounded that they are subsidising a family with 8 kids and a penchant for smoking p and have trashed state houses with their hobby . And the weirdos at the standard say John Key and the government are out of touch, ffs you couldn’t come up with a worse example of supposed government heartlessness, they are putting them up in a hotel because no one in their right mind would rent them a house. If this is the best the left can do to try and get a hit on the govt, trying to get sympathy for these people I for one welcome our new national overlords returning in 2017.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — May 25, 2016 @ 8:41 pm

  69. Thanks Cliff, I was going to post again but you have covered it off nicely

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 25, 2016 @ 10:01 pm

  70. @Cliff
    1) She has no history of contaminating her house with P. Someone contaminated the housed she was living in, Noone has any evidence that it was her or even someone in her family. The government should have emergency housing in place for those who need to have emergency housing – hotels are not emergency housing.

    The govt have had 8 years being told about the housing problems in Auckland and their best option is to do nothing and try to sell state houses.

    2) The debt will not be wiped out – the govt has said that wouldn’t be fair. It’s unlikely she’ll ever be able to pay it off but she will be made to do so, most likely until death.

    3) Meth is addictive. Therefore if someone contanimates one house than they have most likely contanimated previous houses. And the reverse is true – if someone hasn’t contaminated a current house then it’s unlikely they have contanimated previous ones. She has not contaminated the latest house she was in – the govt has said so. So it’s not likely she has contaminated previous ones. If she was this drug abusing useless parent as you suggest, her kids would have been taken away.

    If noone in their right mind would rent to them then the govt should be housing them in a state home. Not condeming the kids to a life of poverty as their mother’s income is debited to pay for a crazy debt that the govt forced her into by not having the appropriate resources.

    Comment by mjpledger — May 25, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

  71. I’m somewhat in awe of Antoine slandering the mother of 8 and claiming she was running a meth lab ……….. even just talking about Drugs can do funny things to the mind Antoine …..

    The meth ‘contamination’ scam was originally pushed by Paula Bennett as a means to smear and dehumanize state house tenants ……

    The purpose was so us good fair minded folk would see them as dirty P fiends and not mind when the Government started evictions and booting families out to live on the street/in cars etc….

    They deliberately mixed up and conflated the dangers of smoking P in a property to the same toxic toxic hazard ratings as running a clandestine P lab.

    A simple example will show up the present scam involving P contamination …. or is it a big Meth-con?.

    Now, imagine for a moment that people can get high from sticking Lead into a glass pipe and smoking it …….. we’ll call the Lead smokers ‘dirty Lead heads’ ……

    Two things would happen with our filthy Lead smoking trash ………. Number One is that they would die because Lead is a nasty poison

    And number two is the houses would be contaminated with Lead …… which is a nasty poison. http://www.who.int/ipcs/features/chemicals_concern/en/

    If we compare our imaginary ‘Lead heads’ to real Kiwi ‘meth heads’….we can notice two differences.

    One is the ‘meth heads’ unlike the ‘Lead heads’ do not quickly die from toxic poisoning….

    And number Two is that the real poison Lead is ignored despite REAL health dangers ……….. but a house is considered ‘contaminated’ with meth when levels of one two millionth of a gram are present over 10 square centimeters ……

    For perspective a child would have to lick 250 square meters of walls/ceilings/carpets to ingest one hundredth of a gram of meth….. they’d also probably get lead poisoning attempting to do this.

    The whole thing is just so typical of National….. when you put a cult in charge of a mob you get this pseudo Sabin science…. and they always want to hang someone…. usually a poor person.

    Anyway I hope this dirty Governments present ‘meth-con’ smear-mongering results in something being done to clean up the half million or more homes which are contaminated with a real poison……

    Children ARE getting sick from Lead and often it takes an alert doctor to link things like renovations taking place and children coming down sick … and that includes neighbors doing renovations.

    http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/ecologic/the-dreaded-lead/

    Disclaimer: I must admit I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet over Lead as thinking back I’m certain my children were exposed to it when they were small ….

    And its still happening to children and pets today ……

    the government does not give a shit ……….

    Comment by reason — May 25, 2016 @ 10:47 pm

  72. Too many people on here have the attitude that “the parents are drug addicts, so screw them”.

    But that means you’re also screwing up the kids’ chance of a good start in life.
    The kids are not responsible for the sins of the parents; they shouldn’t have to suffer.

    Give the family somewhere to live, free of charge, until they can get back on their feet.

    Comment by g2-88f569f5b4080e15f2369597231965b3 — May 26, 2016 @ 12:54 am

  73. My afterthought would be this…

    We differ on how much help should be provided to this family,

    I think we can all agree that it would have been better if they had not been in such a messed up situation to begin with,

    I believe the “social investment approach” is a genuinely well meaning attempt to reduce the number of families that end up in such a state (drugs, intergenerational welfare dependency, etc etc), It’s a very difficult problem to tackle and success will inevitably be mixed.

    I realise that many of you will refuse to hear this because you believe Bill English is an incompetent bungler or a baby-eating bankster. Or simply on the wrong team.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — May 26, 2016 @ 2:06 am

  74. “Too many people on here have the attitude that “the parents are drug addicts, so screw them”.

    But that means you’re also screwing up the kids’ chance of a good start in life.
    The kids are not responsible for the sins of the parents; they shouldn’t have to suffer.

    Give the family somewhere to live, free of charge, until they can get back on their feet.”

    Agree that the kids are the victims here, they had no choice in their parents. I can’t think of a single reason to feel sympathetic to the parents though and given their life choices thus far the chances of them ever “getting back on their feet” with or without free accommodation are on a par with a one legged cat burying its turd in a frozen pond.

    But yeah ,heartless out of touch Key government etc etc……..

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — May 26, 2016 @ 6:35 am

  75. @ cliff : nice piece of satire, mate! I see how you set out to portray a fulminating, thoughtless, demonising, stereotype-invoking, evidence-free redneck here, in order to subtly try and galvanise some support for the homeless. Good work!

    Comment by McNulty — May 26, 2016 @ 6:39 am

  76. @McNulty

    Ha! You want to see a real redneck, check this out: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2016/05/taxpayer_funded_motels.html

    Comment by Antoine — May 26, 2016 @ 7:07 am

  77. …a penchant for smoking p and have trashed state houses with their hobby…

    If you’re going to peddle this abusive bullshit about people you’ve never met, you need:

    1. Evidence that they have a penchant for smoking P.

    2. Evidence that they have “trashed” state houses.

    NB: the fact that the government has some ridiculous policy in which they pretend that someone smoking P rather than tobacco in their house “contaminates” it in a way that renders it unfit for habitation, does not mean that someone smoking P in a state house has “trashed” it. It just means the government consists of obnoxious retards.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 26, 2016 @ 7:15 am

  78. @ cliff : nice piece of satire, mate! I see how you set out to portray a fulminating, thoughtless, demonising, stereotype-invoking, evidence-free redneck here, in order to subtly try and galvanise some support for the homeless. Good work!

    Its a gift, one I’m willing to share.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — May 26, 2016 @ 10:39 pm

  79. Psycho Milt

    1 As I said the odds on them managing to find four houses contaminated with p despite her and her partner having nothing to do with the stuff must be absolutely astronomical . Unless of course they are lying which seems pretty obvious.
    2 if the houses are contaminated they are trashed, they’ll need to be cleaned up.

    I can imagine if they moved into a house that tested positive for p the headlines would read “family with 8 children forced to live in p contaminated house” and you’d be tut tutting at the govt for their heartlessness.

    Anyway , once again they’ve been given the benefit of anonymity. I wonder what a google search of these peoples names would reveal?

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — May 26, 2016 @ 10:45 pm

  80. Anyway , once again they’ve been given the benefit of anonymity. I wonder what a google search of these peoples names would reveal?

    Says “Cliff Claven”, bravely sharing his views of the world openly from his barstool in Cheers.

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 27, 2016 @ 10:30 am

  81. …the odds on them managing to find four houses contaminated with p despite her and her partner having nothing to do with the stuff must be absolutely astronomical…

    The evidence consists of “no smoke without fire,” then. Well, it works for lynch mobs, so why not? However, you’ve left out where you did the calculations on the likelihood of any particular state house having had P smoked in it at some point – surely the odds of that are anything but “astronomical?”

    …if the houses are contaminated they are trashed.

    That’s the logical fallacy called begging the question. Your argument relies on the very thing being disputed. You need to demonstrate how someone having smoked P in a house at some point renders it unfit for habitation. NB: “Housing NZ says so” would be the logical fallacy called appeal to authority – please spare us.

    I can imagine if they moved into a house that tested positive for p the headlines would read “family with 8 children forced to live in p contaminated house” and you’d be tut tutting at the govt for their heartlessness.

    Unless the house had been used as a meth lab, the headlines would be false, and any tut-tutting I came up with would be for the incompetents writing the headlines.

    I wonder what a google search of these peoples names would reveal?

    I bet you do. The enthusiasm of right-wing bloggers for digging up dirt on people who are being given a tough time by the government is exactly why no sensible person involved gives their real name any more.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 27, 2016 @ 12:07 pm

  82. If you left the toxic fumes from fresh painted walls to fight it out in a room with the toxic residue of p fumes, which would win?

    Comment by insider — May 27, 2016 @ 12:24 pm

  83. If you left the toxic fumes from fresh painted walls to fight it out in a room with the toxic residue of p fumes, which would win?

    It would depend whether the paint had VOCs in it or not. If it did, then the paint wins!

    Comment by Gregor W — May 27, 2016 @ 2:12 pm

  84. Psycho Milt, right wing bloggers digging up dirt is different to getting a bunch of stuff stolen from someone s computer and publishing a book based on that stuff how?

    If you really really believe these people have had nothing to do with the contamination good for you. At this juncture I’d like to point out I am a Nigerian Prince looking for somewhere overseas to stash my money. Could I have your bank account details please?

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — May 27, 2016 @ 4:58 pm

  85. Cliff – you seem remarkably well informed for a guy who’s fact base is ‘reading some stuff on the internet’.
    I’m all for drawing inferences, but normally you need first hand observations or/and professional experience to do so.
    Isn’t there a saying about opinions lightly formed but strongly held?

    Comment by Gregor W — May 27, 2016 @ 5:41 pm

  86. …right wing bloggers digging up dirt is different to getting a bunch of stuff stolen from someone s computer and publishing a book based on that stuff how?

    I’m picking that most readers of this blog could answer that in detail and at length, but I’ll keep it brief:

    1. Journalist is given stolen info that describes various political dirty-tricks operations involving the PM’s office, cabinet ministers, National Party insiders, industry lobbyists, etc, and publishes the details so the public can decide how good they feel about voting for the party involved.

    2. Right-winger Googles names of people complaining about their treatment by a government department to see if they’ve had a court appearance or made some abusive Facebook post, so they can be subjected to abuse on right-wing blogs.

    The better question would be, how are they similar, not how are they different?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 27, 2016 @ 6:58 pm

  87. What is it called when a senior government official hides what she’s doing by by-passing the official organizational email system? I’m thinking of Lisa Jackson and Hilarity Clinton.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 28, 2016 @ 1:37 pm


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