The report is critical and scathing towards the approach adopted by the New Zealand Government's use of the Gluckman report on Methamphetamine contamination (PMCSA Report).
The International Journals report raises some very valid concerns around the findings within the PMCSA report and the secrecy around the various information that they used in its development. The Journal suggests there is the potential for class action in the future. The PMCSA report was never peer reviewed and was published by the Government as a “report” only containing recommendations.
Sadly, these recommendations were adopted without further research and investigation by HNZ and various agencies
Within the Journals report, Section 2 outlines a comprehensive assessment of variable international approaches by countries and states towards methamphetamine contamination. The report makes the following comments in regards to New Zealand’s approach:
· The PMCSA report indicates that it is preferable that residents are exposed to “low levels” (by which they mean <15 μg/100 cm2) methamphetamine contamination in comparison to unstable public housing situations.
· The PMCSA report has instigated major changes in the public housing sector, yet the public are unable to view or verify the research that is used to support these changes.
· Many residents from social housing are disadvantaged and from lower socio-economic demographics. The social determinants of health have clearly demonstrated that lower socioeconomic groups suffer significantly poorer health outcomes compared with their richer counterparts.
· The people in this demographic are less able to make their own decisions about whether to live in a contaminated environment as it is unlikely that they can afford the costs associated with testing and remediation.
· The acceptability of exposing residents to “low” levels of methamphetamine contamination to avoid disrupting their housing arrangements is debatable and is a decision that needs to be made in light of all available evidence.
· It is therefore unacceptable that much of the supporting report to the PMCSA report is redacted.
· The safety factors and buffers that are used for California’s RfD and Colorado’s standard are also mentioned a number of times in the PMCSA report.
· These safety factors are put in place for the purpose of addressing uncertainty in knowledge and protecting public health.
· Therefore, it is concerning that there is no regard to the criteria presented in the New Zealand Standard (NZS 8510:2017), and instead, the report states that there is no health concern above 1.5 μg/100 cm2, as there is already a built-in conservative safety buffer, and has therefore deemed that 15 μg/100 cm2 can actually be considered safe.
· The reports released from Ministry of Health, ESR and Standards New Zealand are voluminous. The conflicting reports are likely to cause confusion and uncertainty and could potentially increase mistrust in government and standardisation bodies that exist to provide support and structure for the general public. There is also the possibility that this could potentially lead to legal class action in the future (as happened with asbestos and glyphosate, for example).
There is also the possibility that this could potentially lead to legal class action in the future (as happened with asbestos and glyphosate, for example)
This raises some significant concerns around the approach adopted by Housing New Zealand, and various agencies, surrounding the potential for legal class action. Note that the reliance on the PMCSA Report by the Tenancy Tribunal and some insurance companies has given the potential for significant miscarriage of justice for private landlords.
Meth Xpert NZ have always recommended a precautionary approach to methamphetamine contamination, particularly due to the extent of unknown Health effects and further research required.
This peer reviewed report backs up the intention and application of the New Zealand Standards NZS8510:2017 and Meth Xpert NZ will continue to enforce requirements within the New Zealand Standard and any current amendments until such time as Regulations are formed under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 section 138c.
The lack of conclusive current research supports the need for precautionary approach to be adopted
Our precautionary approach has always been to minimise and mitigate your risk. Remember the obligations for liability under the RTA:
Tenants must not use the rental property for the manufacture or use of illegal substances. If they do, the liability lies with them.
Using, selling or manufacturing methamphetamine in a rental property is using the property for an unlawful purpose. This is a breach of the Residential Tenancies Act. If they breach this, the tenant is liable.
Methamphetamine Contamination is considered Intentional Damage. A Landlord must be able to prove that the contamination was caused during the tenants occupancy. If a Pre - Post Methamphetamine Test was not conducted, any claim for damages will be dismissed. The liability rests with the Landlord.
Watch here to see who holds the liability.
To understand more about your Liability, click to watch the video
Ensure your property is compliant with NZS8510:2017
Seek relevant legal advice
$1.4M worth of methamphetamine is being used EVERYDAY nationwide
Recent independent analysis of wastewater estimates $1.4M worth of methamphetamine is being used EVERYDAY nationwide. That’s close to $10M of methamphetamine in New Zealand Properties every week. Over a year that can be extrapolated out to $510M of methamphetamine used in New Zealand Properties every year.
Protect your assets, minimise your risk, get Meth Tested by the Xperts!
Meth Xpert NZ are happy to discuss the implementation of a methamphetamine risk management strategy for landlords, and we strongly advise ensuring your property is compliant with the Law before the enforcement of the regulations.