More than $1.3 million was spent on methamphetamine testing, decontamination and remediation of Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty state houses in 12 months.
During the same period, just $3000 was spent on mould treatment in Housing New Zealand homes in those areas.
Tommy Kapai Wilson, director of Te Tuinga Whanau – Support Services Trust, said the latest figures, released to the Bay of Plenty Times under the Official Information Act, were "scandalous" and "sad".
Wilson's comments come in the wake of a Government-commissioned report, released this week, which found there was no evidence that third-hand exposure to methamphetamine smoking residue on household surfaces causes adverse health effects.
The report was produced by the Prime Minister's chief science adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, who said people were more at risk from mould in their home than they were from meth contamination.
"In terms of the housing estate, mould is far more dangerous than meth."
Wilson said he had raised concerns about the "discrepancy" between money spent on mould and meth for at least two years.
"One is very real – we see it all the time – and the other has just been a whole lot of hype by people who stand to benefit.
"We have our houses all tested [for meth] and we haven't had a problem with any of them and I've been raising this for at least two years now – that I was more concerned about the dampness and the mould."
He hoped the new report and testing level would "release a whole lot of houses that we need now".
Housing New Zealand spent $1,320,351 on methamphetamine testing, decontamination and remediation and $3022 on mould treatment in the 2016/17 financial year in Tauranga and the Western Bay.
The money was spent after the transfer of 1138 Housing New Zealand properties to Accessible Properties in early April 2016.
There are now 191 Housing New Zealand-managed properties in Tauranga, four of which are vacant, and six properties in the Western Bay.
The Bay of Plenty Times asked Housing New Zealand about the differences in the amount of spending on meth and mould.
Andrew McKenzie, chief executive of Housing New Zealand, said his organisation spent hundreds of millions of dollars maintaining and improving its properties for the health and safety of its tenants and their families.
"This includes painting, additional ventilation, heating, carpets, curtains and other measures designed to keep our homes warm and dry."
In 2017/2018, Housing New Zealand intended to spend about $500 million on maintenance and upgrades in its properties across the country, according to the OIA.
McKenzie said Housing New Zealand had immediately adopted the new recommended meth testing standards and was working promptly to release more than 240 homes back into the letting pool.
He could not confirm how many local houses would be made available.
In an earlier statement, McKenzie said Housing New Zealand's position on meth testing and decontamination was that it works to the guidelines and advice set by experts in the field.
It was now acting on the "robust scientific findings and recommendations" set out in the new report.
In its OIA response, Housing New Zealand said issues with mould could be a result of tenant behaviour, "such as failing to ventilate a property, rather than the condition of the building itself causing the mould".
It said all its tenants were provided with information about how they could prevent mould in their home.
Housing New Zealand also said: "It is important to note that the testing and remediation process for methamphetamine, asbestos, and mould vary from one another, and any associated costs should not be compared."
The Gluckman report found meth levels that exceed the current standard of 1.5mcg/100sq cm should not signal a health risk and exposure 10 times higher (15mcg/100sq cm) would also be unlikely to have any adverse effects.
The report found remediation in most cases was needed only in homes that had been former clan labs producing the drugs and where meth had been heavily used.
Prof Gluckman said he could not see the point of testing, unless police or forensic staff suspected it had been a place of synthesis.
Greg Orchard, chief executive of Accessible Properties, said the new report and recommendations for testing and remediation were helpful.
"Our response to date and the level of remediation undertaken are part of agreement when we purchased the Tauranga portfolio from the Crown and are therefore covered by Housing New Zealand.
"We have tested all of the properties we purchased and expect to complete our remediation of these by September this year."
He said Accessible Properties aimed to utilise the best advice and evidence available when undertaking its work and so would use the new findings and recommendations to revise its policies and practice.
More than 200 people waiting for state houses
There are 211 people in Tauranga and 42 in the Western Bay on the Ministry of Social Development's Housing Register.
The Housing Register represents applicants not currently in public housing who have been assessed as eligible for public housing, and who are ready to be matched to a suitable property.
Source: Ministry of Social Development – as at March 31, 2018