"Nah, I'd leave if I were you," I used to tell the hundreds of tenants who were evicted from state houses during my time as social housing minister.

I'd hold the door open, and introduce them to scrupulous professionals trained in detecting high levels of methampahetamine in state houses. "It's for your own good," I told them. "These professionals will confirm the high risk of developing a range of fatal diseases, such as cancer, leprosy, and welfare dependency."

I'd push them out, and stand on the doorstep. "A bit of fresh air never hurt anyone," I said. "Given a choice between homelessness and catching rabies from P residue, you're better off wandering the streets."


I'd wave to them as they made their wretched way down the pavement, babies crying, old people gasping, suitcases full of junk from the $2 shop, and sing out, "You'll be right! The important thing to remember is that I stand by every decision I make as social housing minister."

Chief science officer Peter Gluckman has released a report saying that tens of thousands of homes were needlessly tested for methhamphetamine contamination at the cost of millions of dollars, with some demolished and left empty, and hunrdeds of tennants were evicted, despite any evidence that it posed a serious health risk.

The important thing to remember is that I was given very bad advice as social housing minister.

And I questioned that advice.

I remember seeing a report once, I think I was on my way out the door, a lot of scientific terms and references, and I was like, "In English?"

Housing New Zealand owes an apology to the hundreds of state house tenants who were evicted during the time I served as social housing minister.

It kicked them out of their homes and left them wandering the streets, as if homelessness were a better choice.

It should do the right thing and say sorry. It should face up to its mistakes. It should front up to these people, and say that it made the wrong decision.


I will certainly be applying the heat to Housing New Zealand to make sure this happens.

This Government should compensate the hundreds of state house tenants who were evicted during the time I served as social housing minister.

I don't think there's any doubt about that. It's time that housing minister Phil Twyford acted responsibility, and sorted out this mess.

Why is he dragging the chain? Not good enough, Mr Twyford!

It's important to remember that the previous Government acted in good faith when it created this crisis.

I remember Bill English said in 2016, "Housing New Zealand is rightly taking a firm stance on the health risks posed by meth, and will continue to do so for as long as it is detected in its properties."

That same year, I said in response to a story that Housing New Zealand's meth testing was over-zealous, "There's absolutely no evidence I've seen of that at all."

We were in the middle of a moral panic over methamphetamine use. You could cut the panic with a knife. You could probably cook it in a spoon, and smoke it, for all I know. But certainly the panic was very, very real.

And we responded to that panic in a very, very real way, in a human way.

We panicked.