Response to the Gluckman report on Meth
Given the vocal position this Government has taken on increasing housing stock and the Ministers stated immediate next step to release a large quantity of houses previously deemed uninhabitable back into the system it’s difficult not to consider the possibility of significant political motivation.
For the last two years MethClear has been educating its customers on the different types of Laboratory based tests, the respective shortcomings of each and the difference between the presence, contamination and toxicity of Meth in New Zealand homes and assets.
Our message has always been consistent – We have been a strong voice countering sensationalism, always provided pragmatic and objective advice so landlords, property managers and home buyers can make informed decisions about whether they want a meth test carried out or not.
• There appears to be absolutely no new identifiable research in this report. Instead, the report appears to be repackaging of existing and incomplete data which has then been repurposed into a recommendation to the Government.
• The report endorses levels significantly higher (>10 times) than any other International market which have previously been used for research and policy comparison.
• The report makes reference to Immunoassay (Preliminary) testing products which are not yet available in New Zealand and does not adequately address the relatively high degree of unreliability of these products, in some cases this can be in excess of a 15-20% failure rate and can be further compounded when used by untrained or unskilled practitioners.
• The report does not account for the potential of accumulation over time, as occupants of properties change and each bring some Meth related behaviour this has the very real potential to accumulate over time and left unchecked could represent both financial and health related issues for the owner or future occupants.
• Any reduction in properties being tested will contribute to the likelihood of major issues remaining un-diagnosed over time – Especially under the false impression that major issues are so rare that it doesn’t warrant testing in the first place.
• At no time during yesterday’s briefing did the incredibly important topic of deterrence get covered – We’re talking about the use of a Class A controlled substance in Kiwi homes (whether owned by Housing NZ or otherwise).
So what now ?
It is absolutely business as usual in the Private Sector – Until all due process has been completed, including appropriate scrutiny of any political angles in this process combined with the opportunity for submissions, any deviation from the processes detailed in current standard (NZS8510:2017) would be naïve.
Property professionals, lenders and Insurers need structure to set policies, give advice and make business decisions around the Meth risk affecting properties throughout New Zealand – This report doesn’t provide structure.
Until such a time the recommendations contained in the Gluckman Report have been reviewed and changes are finalised we will continue to provide pragmatic and objective advice to all our customers.