Meth Xpert NZ - Release of Information: Mitigation of Risk and Health Act 1956 Compliance
When you engage Meth Xpert NZ to conduct toxicology assessment work and subsequent reporting, all the information is private and confidential and is intended solely for the parties involved.
Our reports may not be circulated or published without the prior consent of Meth Xpert NZ and they may not be reproduced except in full. Our reports are not intended for evidential purposes in any criminal proceeding.
However, there are legislative exceptions to the release of information that we gather during our work.
Meth Xpert NZ have a duty of care under Tort Law and obligations under the Health Act 1956 to notify third parties if required.
As per our Terms of Service Section 5.2(b), on occasion due to contamination and associated health risks with methamphetamine, a territorial authority may need to be notified if a property’s contamination is likely to be injurious to health.
A Territorial Authority is a local council who is responsible for enforcement of contamination remediation in the event that the person/s responsible for removing those contamination levels fail to do so.
Contamination levels that require remediation are outlined in the relevant Standard NZS 8510:2017. These contamination levels are set where they are likely to be injurious to health.
The Health Act 1956 Section 29(d) defines methamphetamine contamination as a “Nuisance” being “likely to be injurious to health."
Section 30(1) states that “Every person by whose act, default, or sufferance a nuisance arises or continues, whether that person is or is not the owner or occupier of the premises in respect of which the nuisance exists, commits an offence against this Act.” This means that anyone who is aware of a property in excess of the New Zealand limit for methamphetamine contamination (1.5ug/100cm2) is commuting an offence abasing the Health Act 1956.
Therefore, Meth Xpert NZ may notify a local territorial authority to prevent health risks from contaminated properties.
Meth Xpert NZ shall notify the parties involved who have failed to remediate contamination levels, by way of a “Notice of Intent” ONLY if any required remediation is not undertaken voluntarily and there is a likelihood of the contamination being injurious. This notice is issued with a 14 day right of reply to the parties involved. We would advise parties involved to seek legal council in this event.
If the appropriate notification is subsequently made to a territorial authority, a council officer may then issue a Cleansing Order under Section 41 of the Health Act 1956.
The local authorities can issue a Cleansing Order, Section 41, by which the property MUST be decontaminated, and if the owner/occupier fails to do so, the local authority may cause the premises to be cleansed and all costs are recoverable from the owners or the occupiers.
If the Cleansing Order is not obeyed, a Closing Order can be issued under Section 42 or 44 of the Health Act 1956.
Failure to comply with the terms set out in Sections 41 and 42 is an offence under the Health Act 1956 and is liable to a fine not exceeding $500 and where the offence is a continuing one, a further fine not exceeding $50 for every day upon which the offence is committed (Section 136 of the Health Act 1956).
Any release of information will be in accordance with Meth Xpert NZ Ltd Quality Management Manual Section 4.2.2 Release of Report to Third Parties policy on a case-by-case basis.
Toxic contamination in excess of the prescribed levels may pose a serious health risk and territorial authorities treat it as such.
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