Mike Yardley writes:
Housing New Zealand is flagging a major attitudinal change when it comes to responding to illegal drug activity.
You may recall two years ago a state house tenant was served with a 90-day termination notice, and suspended from accessing state housing for 12 months, after she admitted selling 60 tinnies of cannabis a day from her state rental. The drug-dealing mother had four children under 8 and the typical gaggle of bleeding hearts rounded on the state housing agency for booting her out.
But since December, at Labour’s behest, Housing New Zealand has ushered in a “zero-eviction” policy for illegal drug activity. Yes, it was ridiculous that the agency wasn’t conducting baseline meth-tests at the start of a tenancy. No doubt some tenants unfairly carried the can for the offending of previous tenants. They will all now have their records wiped-clean.
But this new uber-lenient policy is an equally ridiculous over-reaction, whereby illegal drug use will no longer carry any sanctions. No stand down periods from accessing state housing and no evictions.
There is a difference between recognising the health risk from residual P is minor (and refusing to allow anyone to live there) and saying that tenants can use or deal drugs as much they like in state houses.
Surely obeying the law should be a requirement for tenancy.
As Housing New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Andrew McKenzie, confirmed last week, “where illegal drug use took place in its properties, the tenants would not be evicted or referred to police, it would instead help them to access the help they needed.” Only drug manufacture would prompt a call to the police.
I’m with National’s Housing spokeswoman, Judith Collins, who has denounced the new policy as a step too far.
“It should be that they get help, or they get out. It’s not fair to taxpayers, to those on the waiting list, or to those living next door to these drug users – some of whom are children. This will send completely the wrong signal to them.”
So you can use drugs and sell drugs as much as you want from state houses and Housing NZ won’t even mention it to the Police. The only thing you can’t do is manufacture it there.