P contamination in homes has potential to mushroom

By Jimmy Ellingham

A crew from Building Remediation Services Ltd clear a house in Papakura that was contaminated with the drug meth. Photo / Dean Purcell
A crew from Building Remediation Services Ltd clear a house in Papakura that was contaminated with the drug meth. Photo / Dean Purcell

Hundreds of state houses are testing positive for methamphetamine contamination, but information on suspected properties obtained by NZME shows that could get worse.

Housing NZ confirmed 279 state houses tested positive for contamination of the drug, known as P, for the nine months to the end of December. That's more than 229 in the entire 2014/15 financial year and 28 in 2013/14.

In the Bay of Plenty, one of the areas where state housing stock will be sold to community providers, only eight houses have tested positive so far this financial year.

But information obtained from a source with knowledge of the area shows the problem could mushroom.

An incomplete list of contaminated houses in Bay of Plenty records seven houses testing positive for the drug and a further 40 where there is suspected contamination.

At that rate, thousands of state houses around New Zealand could be contaminated.

This week it was revealed almost a quarter of the 19 homes in a Christchurch state housing development had been contaminated in the nine months since they were built.

As the NZ Herald reported yesterday, problems with the drug aren't confined to poorer areas or state-owned properties and have seeped into the nation's most exclusive streets.

Housing NZ says it costs about $2750 to test a property, $10,000 to decontaminate and a further $1600 to re-test.

Four community housing providers are on a shortlist to buy 1124 state houses in Tauranga and 348 in Invercargill.

- NZ Herald

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