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

Tauranga agents welcome new meth house standards

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Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby who applauds the adoption of a national standard for P- contamination in homes with his own testing machine. Andrew Warner/
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby who applauds the adoption of a national standard for P- contamination in homes with his own testing machine. Andrew Warner/

A proposed new national standard around P-contamination are expected to dispel the fear factor around meth houses, and also reduce the need for unnecessary major clean-ups.

The Ministry of Health recently released a report which provided key recommendations for the country's first national standard for methamphetamine contamination.

The recommendations are based on a review by the Environmental Science and Research Institute and international research.

For houses where meth has been smoked but not made, it is recommended that the level of meth needed to warrant a clean-up should be increased up to four times the previous Ministry of Health guidelines.

While the level remains at 0.5 micrograms per 100sq cm or higher where meth has been manufactured, it has been increased to 1.5 micrograms in houses where it has been used.

But the recommended level is 2 micrograms where P has only been used and there isn't any carpet in the property.

Tomorrow the NZ Standards Development Committee will meet to consider the Ministry of Health's report and decide whether any more changes were needed to the draft standard before being released for public feedback.

A committee spokesman said the final version of the standard was likely to be released next year.

However, the standard would be voluntary unless it was cited in legislation or regulations.

Tauranga real estate agents hope the new regulations will provide more certainty around contamination levels and help drive cowboys out of the industry.

Eves and Bayleys Real Estate chief executive Ross Stanway said the adoption of a national contamination standard was crucial because there was of lot of "stigma, scaremongering and ignorance" around what constituted a safe level of risk.

Mr Stanway said the standard also needed to come hand in hand with regulations as to who was able to do meth testing and engage in the clean up process.

"At the moment we absolutely have some cowboys doing this type of work unregistered and uncontrolled, and I have heard quite a few horror stories about homes undergoing unnecessary decontamination work. The sooner a national standard is adopted the better."

Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said he applauded the adoption of a national standard along with a far more realistic level of contamination risk for uncarpeted properties.

"It's definitely time and something we have been crying out for a long time," he said.

Mr Lusby said for instance under the proposed national standard the decontamination bill for home could be between $10,000 to $15,000 less.

He too wanted to see a set of regulations be put in place for meth tests and those involved in this type of decontamination work.

Current Health Ministry P-risk guideline


A contamination reading of 0.5 micrograms per 100sq cm
or higher means a home needs decontamination

Proposed national standard:
0.5 micrograms per 100sq cm or higher where P was manufactured
1.5 micrograms per 100sq cm where P-used and carpeted property.
2 micrograms were meth has been used and no carpet.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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