Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

P-contaminated homes in the Bay on the rise

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A clean-up crew clear a house which was contaminated with methamphetamine. Photo/File
A clean-up crew clear a house which was contaminated with methamphetamine. Photo/File

Figures obtained from a major meth testing company and Housing New Zealand show that the number of P-tainted homes in the Western Bay region is growing.

Data collected by MethSolutions Limited showed that just under 600 homes had been checked in Tauranga District and Western Bay region in the past four years.

Of the 251 homes which tested positive, 201 were in Tauranga.

MethSolutions company director Miles Stratford said the number of rental properties being tested for methamphetamine were increasing each month.

"It saddens me that the rate of positive tests is not dropping and this shows that the extent of the problem is widespread, " he said.

"I think most people think it only happens to other people but it's vitally important that people do appreciate the real risk of buying a property. We all know the saying buyer beware."

Mr Stratford said paying about $200 for a test was a small price for peace of mind, compared to the hefty clean-up costs which could range from $1000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Housing New Zealand spokesman Glenn Conway said the organisation's latest data showed as at June 30 this year, there were 14 P-contaminated homes vacant in the Tauranga City Council area, and one in the Western Bay of District Council area.

"Methamphetamine is a growing issue for the country, and we're all only now coming to grips with the true impact of the drug's reach through our society," Mr Conway said.

"To protect the health and wellbeing of our tenants, Housing New Zealand will test for P contamination when we have reason to suspect a property is contaminated, or if we are going to sell a property."

Eves and Bayleys Real Estate chief executive Ross Stanway said he was not surprised by the high levels of positive tests given that P was a major problem, not just in the Bay of Plenty region, but New Zealand-wide.

Mr Stanway said it was becoming more common for potential property buyers to exercise their right to conduct a meth test even when there was no reason to suspect the property was contaminated.

"The reality is that there is no type of home or area, nor value of property that potentially could be at risk as P is a classless drug," he said.

Tauranga Property Investors Association vice president Simon Darmondy said methamphetamine contamination was the number one concern for many landlords and testing was become more commonplace.

"Don't buy someone else's problems. A meth test should now be a standard part of your due diligence when buying a property, just like a building inspection or valuation."

Ministry of Health guidelines said any 10 sq cm area with a P concentration of 0.5 micrograms or above was not safe.

Demolishing P-contaminated state houses

• Three Housing NZ rental properties in the Bay of Plenty region have been demolished in the past five years due to extremely high P-contamination.

• One was a Tauranga property in December 2013 and two were in Rotorua in June 2013.

- Housing new Zealand

- Bay of Plenty Times

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