The Dim-Post

August 9, 2016

Class action time

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 12:29 pm

Russell Brown has a story in the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s journal about the government’s meth contaminated state houses scam. It sounds as if a lot of people who’ve been fined and evicted from their homes have a very legitimate grievance against Housing New Zealand, and that HNZ has wasted staggering sums of taxpayer money decontaminating state homes that pose virtually no danger to residents.  Money quote:

At the 0.5 microgram Ministry of Health guideline value – the point at which hundreds of properties are being declared uninhabitable – the possible dose from a wall or other surface is “1000 to 2000 times lower than the initial 5 mg dose given to a six-year-old for ADHD


  1. Was it there I read of something like 279 positive results from testing ~560 houses? About 50% positive results? That right there seems prima facie evidence of something bollocks.

    Comment by Fentex — August 9, 2016 @ 1:12 pm

  2. Clearly the work of the Devil. He has entered the minds of our bureaucrats and told them to use that particular detail, and they, like all good bureaucrats, have done what they were told. Their reward lies in the afterlife (as per Faust).

    From JK’s perspective, this is an excellent public/private partnership. Set the contamination threshold thousands of times lower than it ought to be, you get oodles of contaminated houses. You get to create an entire industry of decontaminating houses that don’t need it. Invest in that industry. Get your mates to set up decontamination businesses – there’s plenty of room for competition. We need more economic growth & here’s an excellent way to generate it!

    Comment by Dennis Frank — August 9, 2016 @ 1:34 pm

  3. Looking on the bright side; all those houses which had their linings removed were very likely to have been insulated and damp proofed during their relining, supporting both the policy targets of the Greens and Maori Party 🙂

    Comment by Robert Singers — August 9, 2016 @ 2:17 pm

  4. Check out 0800 METH INFO

    It’s the call-line Canterbury DHB were handing out, last summer.
    Turns out to be a franchised testing outfit, based in USA.
    The associated website touts that “they are looking for more franchisees, it’s a growing industry in NZ”.

    Never mind class action for tenants; MSD may have quite a good case itself for having been defrauded by the AMWAY of forensic testing labs.

    Comment by anarkaytie — August 9, 2016 @ 4:10 pm

  5. The 0.5 micrograms is a low dose but not no dose. And there’s always someone who is or claims to have been effected. Is a house at 0.5 micrograms really safe? Have the courts decided this issue yet? Cos if tenants can sue landlords for renting out unsafe properties;

    “I was left chronically ill after renting this property which tested for P and the landlord should have known about it and never tenanted it in that state. Can I have damages please your honour?”.

    Might work especially well if that landlord was Housing NZ.

    Comment by artcroft — August 9, 2016 @ 5:25 pm

  6. I guess it depends if you are regularly licking the walls or not….

    Comment by Michael — August 9, 2016 @ 8:33 pm

  7. “Turns out to be a franchised testing outfit, based in USA.
    The associated website touts that “they are looking for more franchisees, it’s a growing industry in NZ”.”

    Snobbery-industrial complex, much?

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 9, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

  8. how much of this is about protection from possible legal action – you let my children grow up in a p house – and about people at the coal face trying to deal with p users.

    P use is s huge calamity – which isn’t being dealt with adequately and it might not be able to be dealt with adequately.

    It destroys people’s lives, the lives of those around them and causes huge stress in public servants who have to cope with the consequences.

    Comment by NeilM — August 9, 2016 @ 9:46 pm

  9. I would be interested in a profession opinion on the effect of prolonged exposure of that quantity of Methamphetamine on children.

    Comment by prez — August 9, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

  10. Hilarious article in the Herald about landlords who fell for this nonsense: “Out went the stove, fridge, switchboard, carpets, curtains, light fittings and all internal doors. Pantry doors also. I have to replace!”. Yes, you have to replace your common sense, you morons. The switchboard FFS!

    Comment by Dave — August 9, 2016 @ 10:30 pm

  11. Neil: “P use is s huge calamity – which isn’t being dealt with adequately and it might not be able to be dealt with adequately.”

    The fact that its use has apparently become normalised in much of society is another marker of the utter failure of the war on drugs.

    However, that test was originally designed for cleaning up properties used as meth labs, not for houses where people had just smoked it. If houses in the leafy suburbs of our towns and cities were to be tested for meth contamination, happen we’d find much higher levels!

    The current imbroglio results from a combination of HNZ managers who don’t understand the science, moral panic on the part of the general public (some of whom no doubt smoke meth themselves), and “decontamination” companies with an eye to the main chance. And, without doubt, political expediency on the part of the government, as has been pointed out above.

    It seems to me that HNZ has been made to look ridiculous; it hasn’t helped that the programme manager (I think), in the course of an interview on Morning Report, conceded that the test they were using wasn’t fit for purpose, but (sanctimoniously) that they were going to keep using it, because they needed to protect tenants. Or some such twaddle. That’s the sort of unyielding attitude in the face of countervailing facts that makes public servants look downright silly.

    Then – speaking of looking downright silly – Bill English, also being interviewed by Morning Report on the same topic, and demonstrating how utterly useless a BAHons in Eng Lit (whether first class or not) is, if one is required to understand scientific issues. He’d have been well-advised to admit that he isn’t qualified to comment.

    What the hell are we doing, policing the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society in this hard-eyed and punitive fashion? By all means, throw the book at those running meth labs, but for heaven’s sake: the war on drugs has failed completely. If HNZ tenants use drugs, so bloody what? They’re only doing what almost everybody younger than me seems to be either doing, or have done at some point in their lives. I’ll stick to whisky, thanks, but really, I don’t give a toss what others do to get through their lives. Fat lot of good it’d do if I did, anyway.

    Comment by D'Esterre — August 10, 2016 @ 12:08 am

  12. Nothing new about linking drug-use to criminality and therefore providing a carte-blanche for various agencies to revenue-gather or profit. Look at the DVD ‘Culture High’ in which it is discussed how US law-enforcement agencies get to ‘keep’ revenue from impounded goods of those ‘suspected’ of having cannabis. To see how ready-cash incentives are linked to arrests of the little guy means that legalisation of marijuana is unlikely in the US as long as he arrest of a suspected casual user, statistically, is equal to a drug-lord on the arrest-quota. S
    aid casual user can be pulled over ‘on suspicion’ for no other reason that his ride might fetch a good price at the auction, and then the resulting money can go into buying more flash paramilitary-type equipment for ‘law enforcement’ agencies.

    The net result being personal liberty has a cash-value, and is for sale to the highest bidder, and the police broker the deal in their ‘War on Drugs’. Now consider how you can pile into a queue while drunk and get 18 months Community Probation here, or get seven years jail for possession of a couple of points of meth. The youngster who may be misguided and stupid provides a massive profit-incentive – he makes money for teh Government and keeps teh incarceration rates up, when he presents no real ‘danger’ to society.

    Unless of course if you are a multi-million dollar earning company or drug lord in which case you are pretty much home free, and can afford really really good lawyers.

    I’m not seekign to make false equivalences here, merely suggesting that once a potential cash-cow is linked to the ‘war on drugs’ it is likely that vested interests will fan the flames of badly-informed populist hysteria in order to keep the gravy-train on-track – if I may mix my imagery so randomly…

    Comment by leeharmanclark — August 10, 2016 @ 6:19 am

  13. The 0.5 micrograms is a low dose but not no dose. And there’s always someone who is or claims to have been effected. Is a house at 0.5 micrograms really safe? Have the courts decided this issue yet?

    Tobacco smoke is also full of toxic chemicals and leaves a measurable residue. Has anyone ever claimed such residue affected their health and they’re therefore entitled to claim damages against the landlord for not removing that residue? Not that I’ve ever heard of. And if anyone did take such a claim to court, how likely would they be not to have their case thrown out with costs awarded against them? There’s no more basis for a fear of “P-contamination”-based claims than there is for the tobacco version, because in both cases claims would suffer from the fact that the evidence is non-existent and can’t be convincingly pretended to exist.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — August 10, 2016 @ 7:39 am

  14. This fact free pearler from the local “newspaper” (what an insult HB Today is to the memory of the Napier Daily Telegraph and HB Herald Tribune) shows the intellectual climate of fear and moral panic being stoked by a self serving political-crime complex. A claim from the raving loons of the Sensible Sentencing Trust is laundered by the takeaway line “…I fear it’s true…” (your supposed to be a freaking newspaper how about you actually find out, FFS) into an actual crisis that demands the most vigilant response.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 10, 2016 @ 8:44 am

  15. That HB Today article is pretty funny – you replace swap ‘P’ with ‘alcohol’ throughout and just re-issue it the next time Doug Sellman puts out a press release.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — August 10, 2016 @ 9:04 am

  16. “Tobacco smoke is also full of toxic chemicals and leaves a measurable residue”

    so is all sorts of stuff in our houses – new paint and treated timber being two rather prominent ones

    Comment by framu — August 10, 2016 @ 12:00 pm

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