I often wish people wouldn't tell me stuff.
They approach me as a last resort having explored all other options to get their issues resolved or to at least get some action under way.
Their expectation is I can, and will, do something to help them. I do what I can but it's rarely enough.
The issues some people are dealing with would break your heart. They are being unfairly and unjustly treated by people using their positions of authority to intimidate and harass them.
You wouldn't think their jobs are actually to help and support some of our most vulnerable citizens. We need to take a long hard look at how we treat the poor in this country. We have double standards.
Three years ago I was told the methamphetamine testing of houses in New Zealand was a sham. I had no reason to doubt the person who shared their "inside" knowledge with me or the veracity of the information provided. A little homework on my part confirmed something was very wrong with the testing being undertaken.
From 2013 to 2018 nearly 5000 Housing New Zealand properties were tested. Half were found to be positive. The Ministry of Health's guidelines were way off the mark. The testing standard was set at a ridiculously low level. More than $100m was spent in unnecessary tests and clean-up. Private landlords got stung badly too.
Now Housing New Zealand will compensate former tenants, the ones evicted from their homes because the houses were found to be contaminated. They'll receive between $2500 to $3000.
How did they arrive at that figure I wonder?
Tenants have spoken about their treatment, how they were notified, treated like criminals and left without any support to find alternative housing; basically booted out.
Those who swore black and blue they had never cooked or used meth weren't believed.
Who believes a Housing New Zealand tenant? Not Housing New Zealand apparently. They pursued a zero tolerance line that even the Ministry of Health now admits had "little merit".
Don't get me wrong, not all Housing New Zealand tenants are angels. Of course not. But the persecution and hounding of families was, in my opinion, relentless and panic driven.
800 tenants were deemed responsible and were kicked out of their homes, and 275 tenants were suspended from being housed by Housing New Zealand for one year.
The evicted tenants didn't leave a forwarding address. When you get kicked out nobody wants to hear from you again. Out of sight out of mind.
Housing New Zealand is going to compensate the 800 former tenants but I doubt whether they'll track down even 400.
Many evicted families now think "you can't trust the process". They think there'll be hoops to jump through. They think they'll be sitting across the table from the same seemingly uncaring people who kicked them out in the first place.
A contribution to their rehousing costs is one thing, it's the emotional distress that goes much deeper, that I worry about.
Housing New Zealand is there to provide affordable rental housing for those in need. It's called social housing. The name says it all. Or it should.
There are waiting lists all over the country. The evicted families aren't faceless individuals. They're not no hopers. They were just treated like they were. And we wonder why New Zealanders take their own lives and have serious mental health issues.