P shock wrecks family dream: 'We've lost everything we've worked for'

By Cloe Willetts -
Kiel Moore-Jones, Emma Moore-Jones and daughters Rosie and Ally face an uncertain future.
Kiel Moore-Jones, Emma Moore-Jones and daughters Rosie and Ally face an uncertain future.

A Kapiti Coast couple's home renovation dreams have been shattered after the family home they purchased tested positive for methamphetamine contamination, one day after shifting in.

The seven-year-old Waikanae home is now deemed uninhabitable according to Ministry of Health standards.

Kiel and Emma Moore-Jones, parents to Rosie, 3, and Ally, 2, were midway into unpacking on February 18, settlement day, when they found themselves driving a half hour's journey to buy an at-home drug testing kit.

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"The same day we shifted our stuff in, Kiel's friends asked who we'd bought the house off and when we told them, they advised us to get the home tested," Mrs Moore-Jones said.

"According to them the previous owner, who had built the house seven years prior, was a long-term meth smoker.

"So there we were, at 11pm at night, driving to pick up a testing kit we'd bought off Trade Me, obviously in shock and telling ourselves that if it came back positive, we'd get someone in to do more tests."

Six different swabs of the walls, window sills and interior surfaces were positive and, after visits from two separate specialist home drug-testing companies, the couple realised they had a huge problem.

"We were told we'd need to clean it out professionally, at a cost of $20,000 alone, on top of regibbing and the replacement of all window frames because you can never get the residue out of them."

They were told the house, bought for $280,000 with an upfront deposit of $58,000, would never be 100 per cent contamination-free.

"Even if we do the house up and spend all that extra money ... estimated to be between $35,000 and $40,000 ... It's forever going to have the label of being a P house. Who's going to want to buy it?" she said.

Having set up a Givealittle page to help cover costs while they pay their mortgage and rates for a home they don't live in, as well as storage and lawyer fees, the Moore-Joneses said the liability fell on them.

"We rang the real estate agency the morning after doing the first test and they questioned our testing.

"I'm aware the agency has drug testing kits in their office, but they didn't feel the need to do any testing of their own."

Mrs Moore-Jones, whose daughters had skin allergies and early stages of asthma, wondered what to do next.

"Even after all the cleaning, do I still want to put my kids in there?"

The family, who are staying with relatives, said they wanted other people to be aware of drug testing when buying or renting a home.

"We've lost everything we've worked for. The hardest part though, is not having anywhere to call home."

Housing New Zealand confirmed last week that 279 state houses tested positive for meth contamination in the nine months to the end of December. It spent about $12 million to $13 million a year on remedial work.

It's feared P-riddled homes could rival NZ's leaky homes disaster, with thousands thought to be contaminated.

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