'P' homes demolished

More than 100 Gisborne families need a home, but 'P' contamination means some local houses are unliveable.

More than 100 Gisborne families need a home, but 'P' contamination means some local houses are unliveable.

GONE: Last week this section had a four bedroom Housing New Zealand home on it. But it was demolished and removed because the level of 'P' was so high it was deemed cheaper to bulldoze then decontaminate. The section is now for sale after Iwi have had the first right of refusal. Picture by Paul Rickard.
DESPERATELY NEEDED BUT CONTAMINATED BY P: The waiting list for social housing in the Gisborne area has increased almost three times from what it was two years ago. But this two-bedroom Housing New Zealand unit on Awapuni Rd has been empty and trashed since July. The levels of Methamphetamine inside the home are above the Ministry of Health guidelines. It is one of many examples of how drug use is affecting the supply of HNZC homes. Picture by Paul Rickard.

A FOUR-bedroom home recently razed on Ranfurly Street tested so high for the illegal drug Methamphetamine it was deemed cheaper to bulldoze than have it decontaminated.

It was a Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) home and its destruction comes at a time when demand for social housing in the Gisborne area has almost tripled over the last two years.

But adding to the lack of supply is the number of homes compromised because of the high incidence of drug contamination, mainly Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as P.

The HNZC four bedroom home on Ranfurly St bulldozed last week was the second property of its size on the street to be destroyed in a matter of months because illegal drug use contaminated it over the Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines.

These two sections now remain bare.

A HNZC spokesperson said there was no plan to build on the vacant sections and they intend to sell the land.

“The land is subject to the Right of First Refusal process which means it needs to be offered to local iwi first.

“The levels of contamination were so high that it was considered uneconomic to reinstate the property, therefore a decision was made to demolish it”.

In 2014, 39 families were wait listed on the Social Housing Register list. Today, 112 families urgently need a home.

Of those 112, 64 are families classed as Priority A, which is described by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) as people who are considered ‘at risk’ with housing needs that must be addressed immediately. Of those on the waiting list, 42 people want a one-bedroom home, 50 require a two-bedroom home and 13 families require a three-bedroom home. There are no requests for four or five bedroom homes as at the end of September 2016.

Properties in East Cape

HNZC has nearly 1300 properties in the East Cape area.

An HNZC spokesperson said to meet demand they are taking some of their homes off the market.

“In the past few months we have brought 13 properties that had been on the market, and let them to new tenants.

We’re also in the process of bringing back a further 18 properties. We’ll keep monitoring demand and assessing the situation to ensure we’re providing enough properties.

“We’re here to house people from the social housing register, so given there’s increasing demand, we’re making sure we’re adapting to that need.”

The HNZC spokesperson said the social, health, wellbeing and environmental impacts of ‘P’ were extensive, which is why Housing New Zealand had a zero tolerance approach to drug use and abuse in their homes.

There is also a 2-bedroom unit on Awapuni Road, which has been vacant since July after testing for P confirmed it was also above MoH guidelines.

The unit is strewn with rubbish inside and outside the property, and under the carport. There are windows open, large black bin bags full of household rubbish, two old televisions, an old car motor and rusty furniture. The litter has been there for months.

Before the two homes on Ranfurly Street were bulldozed they had also remained empty for months.

Neighbours say the response is too slow from HNZC to get these properties back into shape and available for rent.

“There are homeless people, homless families, and properties that could suit their needs are sitting around empty and littered with rubbish. How long does it take it clean up?”

HNZC contracts Prestige for the clean-up of their properties after the tenants have left.

Living in car

“This flat on Awapuni Rd has been vacant for months. Can nobody come and pick up this rubbish and old appliances over that time? I’d clean it up myself because I am so desperate for a home,” said one 44-year-old woman who was living in her car with her son.

The HNZC spokesperson said contamination from P use was preventing vulnerable people on the Ministry of Social Development’s social housing register from getting access to a home as cleaning and remediation can take up to three months. In extreme cases, the cost to decontaminate is not economic.

Housing New Zealand owns 1266 properties in Gisborne and, in the last 12 months, has housed 179 tenants in the area.

“It’s important to remember that those people who contaminate homes by abusing P are depriving others of a home. It's unfair on both those waiting for a state house, who have to wait longer for a house to become available, and on innocent families who may need to move out of their state house if it is contaminated from a previous tenancy.

“Methamphetamine is a growing issue not just for Housing New Zealand, but for our country as a whole. We’re all only now coming to grips with the true impact of the drug’s reach through our society.

“It’s important to also note that there has been an increase in meth detection as a result of HNZC improving its processes for identifying methamphetamine in our properties.”

The spokesperson said they are being more proactive toward testing and up-skilling staff to help them better identify methamphetamine use.

“To protect the health and wellbeing of our tenants, HNZC will test for methamphetamine (P) contamination when we have reason to suspect a property is contaminated with P or if we are going to sell a property.

“We rely on many government agencies including the NZ Police, as well as neighbours and communities to alert us to any suspected drug use. Our staff are also trained to pick up signs of drug use when visiting properties.

“If a property is positive with levels above that of the MoH guidelines we would not allow our tenants to remain living in the property and will discuss next steps with them. We do this to protect them, their family, and our communities.

“This is not a new approach. Our zero tolerance approach to drug use in our homes is part of our long-time anti-social behaviour policy and tenants are made aware of this when they are provided with a state house.

“The use of P, or any drug, in our properties is considered criminal behaviour.”

A FOUR-bedroom home recently razed on Ranfurly Street tested so high for the illegal drug Methamphetamine it was deemed cheaper to bulldoze than have it decontaminated.

It was a Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) home and its destruction comes at a time when demand for social housing in the Gisborne area has almost tripled over the last two years.

But adding to the lack of supply is the number of homes compromised because of the high incidence of drug contamination, mainly Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as P.

The HNZC four bedroom home on Ranfurly St bulldozed last week was the second property of its size on the street to be destroyed in a matter of months because illegal drug use contaminated it over the Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines.

These two sections now remain bare.

A HNZC spokesperson said there was no plan to build on the vacant sections and they intend to sell the land.

“The land is subject to the Right of First Refusal process which means it needs to be offered to local iwi first.

“The levels of contamination were so high that it was considered uneconomic to reinstate the property, therefore a decision was made to demolish it”.

In 2014, 39 families were wait listed on the Social Housing Register list. Today, 112 families urgently need a home.

Of those 112, 64 are families classed as Priority A, which is described by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) as people who are considered ‘at risk’ with housing needs that must be addressed immediately. Of those on the waiting list, 42 people want a one-bedroom home, 50 require a two-bedroom home and 13 families require a three-bedroom home. There are no requests for four or five bedroom homes as at the end of September 2016.

Properties in East Cape

HNZC has nearly 1300 properties in the East Cape area.

An HNZC spokesperson said to meet demand they are taking some of their homes off the market.

“In the past few months we have brought 13 properties that had been on the market, and let them to new tenants.

We’re also in the process of bringing back a further 18 properties. We’ll keep monitoring demand and assessing the situation to ensure we’re providing enough properties.

“We’re here to house people from the social housing register, so given there’s increasing demand, we’re making sure we’re adapting to that need.”

The HNZC spokesperson said the social, health, wellbeing and environmental impacts of ‘P’ were extensive, which is why Housing New Zealand had a zero tolerance approach to drug use and abuse in their homes.

There is also a 2-bedroom unit on Awapuni Road, which has been vacant since July after testing for P confirmed it was also above MoH guidelines.

The unit is strewn with rubbish inside and outside the property, and under the carport. There are windows open, large black bin bags full of household rubbish, two old televisions, an old car motor and rusty furniture. The litter has been there for months.

Before the two homes on Ranfurly Street were bulldozed they had also remained empty for months.

Neighbours say the response is too slow from HNZC to get these properties back into shape and available for rent.

“There are homeless people, homless families, and properties that could suit their needs are sitting around empty and littered with rubbish. How long does it take it clean up?”

HNZC contracts Prestige for the clean-up of their properties after the tenants have left.

Living in car

“This flat on Awapuni Rd has been vacant for months. Can nobody come and pick up this rubbish and old appliances over that time? I’d clean it up myself because I am so desperate for a home,” said one 44-year-old woman who was living in her car with her son.

The HNZC spokesperson said contamination from P use was preventing vulnerable people on the Ministry of Social Development’s social housing register from getting access to a home as cleaning and remediation can take up to three months. In extreme cases, the cost to decontaminate is not economic.

Housing New Zealand owns 1266 properties in Gisborne and, in the last 12 months, has housed 179 tenants in the area.

“It’s important to remember that those people who contaminate homes by abusing P are depriving others of a home. It's unfair on both those waiting for a state house, who have to wait longer for a house to become available, and on innocent families who may need to move out of their state house if it is contaminated from a previous tenancy.

“Methamphetamine is a growing issue not just for Housing New Zealand, but for our country as a whole. We’re all only now coming to grips with the true impact of the drug’s reach through our society.

“It’s important to also note that there has been an increase in meth detection as a result of HNZC improving its processes for identifying methamphetamine in our properties.”

The spokesperson said they are being more proactive toward testing and up-skilling staff to help them better identify methamphetamine use.

“To protect the health and wellbeing of our tenants, HNZC will test for methamphetamine (P) contamination when we have reason to suspect a property is contaminated with P or if we are going to sell a property.

“We rely on many government agencies including the NZ Police, as well as neighbours and communities to alert us to any suspected drug use. Our staff are also trained to pick up signs of drug use when visiting properties.

“If a property is positive with levels above that of the MoH guidelines we would not allow our tenants to remain living in the property and will discuss next steps with them. We do this to protect them, their family, and our communities.

“This is not a new approach. Our zero tolerance approach to drug use in our homes is part of our long-time anti-social behaviour policy and tenants are made aware of this when they are provided with a state house.

“The use of P, or any drug, in our properties is considered criminal behaviour.”

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Mary-Ann de Kort - 2 years ago
HCNZ seems to be using a red herring and highlighting the use of 'P' to distract the public from the fact vacant homes are not being readied for new families fast enough. Yes P is a problem but it's not truthful to overstate the incidence. A recent article dispelled the myth that smoking P contaminates a house to the state where it is unliveable and needs a complete refit. It can apparently be remedied easily and at low cost unless it was a cook house. That is why there have only been two demolitions.
The simple fact is that homes should never be left vacant for extended periods of time or sold if there are people living in cars. Please spend a wee bit of money now to save future money on the long-term health and education problems inherent in families with no fixed abode. Surely there are enough unemployed workers to clean up rubbish etc so that these people can have homes.

Juanita - 2 years ago
I have cleaned a "P" home before. No pulling anything down or ripping anything out. Obviously not a cook house - the highest level reading in the home was 12, got it to -0.2 after three days without any soft furnishings removed. The home passed the test and was ready for new tenants within two weeks. My service was well within the budget of the home owner.