I hear today, that the new Housing Minister of Aotearoa/NZ has offered an ‘official apology’ to about 800 tenants, for being ‘unlawfully evicted’ due to Meth/P testing in state houses, under the policy of the previous ‘Right-wing’ Govt. !
Over a period of several years, there was a policy of ‘Meth testing’, where testing teams, entered these houses & swabbed internal walls, carpets & furniture. An effective ZERO-tolerance level was applied & many of these folks (positive test) evicted, stated that they were not Meth manufacturers, dealers OR even users of the Drug. It was discovered in some cases, that perhaps family members, their friends or even previous tenants, may have been responsible for the ‘contamination’.. but the resident tenants were held responsible & evicted anyway. Some cases; resulted in whole families becoming homeless !
During parliament question-time today; The Minister announced that, the Ministry of Housing was making great efforts to contact the evicted tenants & assist them, if required with their residence issues & that a ‘compensation payment’ maybe applicable ($2500-3000 was estimated) to any, who had suffered hardship or loss of property/furniture etc. as a result.
The opposition party; then asked a series of questions, along the lines (Paraphrased): ‘Does this new Govt. accept/condone Illegal Drug manufacture, dealing or use, in state houses ?’ to which the Minister responded, that they do not accept the law being broken.. but affirmed that their new Govt, policy was around, treating ‘Drug use & addiction’ as a health issue, not a Law & Order enforcement one. This is more inline with recent UN Intl. Drug policy announcements.
This was followed by another question from the Right-wing opposition, around ‘Synthetic Cannabinoids’.. should the most harmful (2 mentioned specifically) be reclassified as ‘Class A drugs’ (in light of about 40 deaths in the last year).. which follows their outdated, continued ‘TOUGH on DRUGS’ approach. The Minister stated that their policy, is around ‘stemming the flow’ of illegal drugs, not Zero-tolerance & that they would treat it as a Health care issue too.. not just a ‘lock ’em up’; Criminal approach.
I agree with the moves, by this new Govt. “3 cheers for a level of sanity… at last” on this matter ! 🙂