I once nearly bought a P house - from the Queen.

Expecting a second child, my wife and I had started hunting for a larger home. For sale in a leafy suburb was a bungalow that needed a bit of love. It had been bought by the Transport Agency for a motorway project but was no longer needed.

Because it was owned by the Crown, the vendor was listed as Her Majesty the Queen - for use in connection with a road.

P shock wrecks family dream: 'We've lost everything we've worked for
P contamination crisis could rival leaky homes disaster
Babies living in P contaminated houses


The property had been tenanted, so on the advice of friends we made our offer conditional on a meth test, which we commissioned. We enthusiastically submitted the offer, thinking we might get a good deal as Her Majesty probably wasn't too concerned about extracting the maximum price out of the fast-rising Auckland house market.

After the tenders were due, the real estate agent told me we had made the most attractive bid.

I called my wife to break the news but she had some of her own - the test had indicated meth was present on the property. The results indicated P use rather than manufacture, but were above Ministry of Health guidelines. Further testing was required.

I told the agent and the property was promptly removed from the market. The vendors did their own testing, which yielded similar results, and recommended full decontamination.

Three top bidders were given a chance to submit new tenders, on the proviso the vendors would clean up the house. Pondering our next move, we stopped by the property. We could see it had been stripped of paint and panelling. But within a few minutes, we both began to feel lightheaded. Bad vibes - we were out.

However, the story didn't end there. The property ended up back on the market with full disclosure about the decontamination. After visiting again, we felt the property was safe and worth another go. Unfortunately, as I sat outside the agent's office at the tender deadline with the documents in my hand, I was phoned by the bank and told they needed to take a closer look at the place.

We wouldn't have got it anyway. The city's market meant despite the disclosure about the P clean-up, the house sold for tens of thousands more than our original offer. HRH did all right after all.

Debate on this article is now closed.