Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The miserable archive

56 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

  • cindy baxter,

    Makes for such grim reading. Those poor people - agree with Minto's comment this morning that both Housing Corp and WINZ, by the end of nine long years, appeared to be operating a system that ran on vindictiveness, and the targetting of some of society's poorest people. But the problem now is that it's probably the culture in both departments, and staff selected on their ability to have thick enough skin to carry out these policies. Going to take a while to undo?

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    What I find so utterly depressing about this is that it's become clear that HNZ and now ADHB have a culture that is focused on punishing people who use the services those agencies are meant to provide.

    Somehow we've allowed our core social services to lose their raison d'etre.

    I'm certain that at the actual hands on end of those organisations most of the staff are really trying to do the good that those agencies are meant to provide. But they aren't in control.

    I don't think it's just one government's fault. I think it's a long term cultural problem. And I think it's something that needs to change unless we want New Zealand to become a different kind of country, a much harsher, meaner country, one that doesn't care for the people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4418 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Here's another one. The tribunal couldn't make a finding on whether the tenant was responsible for meth traces, but ordered that HNZ be allowed to make her leave her home "on the basis that the premises are uninhabitable due to the contamination by methamphetamine."

    Housing New Zealand Corporation, (HNZ), had the premises swap tested by Dowdell and Associates Ltd on the 23rd of July 2015 for the presence of methamphetamine and precursor chemicals. The results were analysed by Hill Laboratories Ltd and the results indicate that the presence of methamphetamine above the level in the Ministry of Health guidelines for remediation of contamination. The report from Dowdell and Associates states that because of the level of contamination the premises should not be tenanted.

    On its website Dowdell prominently claims that:

    Whether methamphetamine contamination in a dwelling is via use or manufacture the exposure risk is the same.

    This was bullshit and it's always been bullshit. But it was enough for someone to lose their home.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Are there any cases where testing for meth was negative?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2891 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Note the US has implemented the obvious version of this policy: it applies to everyone, not just the criminally poor.

    In the USA people can (and do) lose their homes, anything they have that's worth anything, and often their freedom, merely because the police think that someone might have or have had drugs there. Their "war on drugs" works much the same as our "war on meth", with the collateral damage you'd expect. In many cases there's a "technically you're not convicted" outcome, but the Police raid still happened, as did the prosecution... those things aren't cost-free.

    It's somewhat surprising that this scare never spread to more valuable members of society, especially given the problems the rental industry was having with labs in rental properties (there was a lot of fear, I'm not sure how widespread the actual problem was). But can you imagine how much fun it would be if some decent, upstanding member of society (Pullya Benefit, or even That Nice Man {tm} John Key) was tested and discovered to have possessions that were contaminated, and thus needed to be stripped of said possessions... I'm thinking any cash they had on them, but I'm sure more would be found once testing began.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1097 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Whether methamphetamine contamination in a dwelling is via use or manufacture the exposure risk is the same

    That's technically true, but elides the crucial "for the same level of contamination".

    When we were trying to buy a house we dismissed a couple because they'd clearly been long-term dens for indoor smokers. In one case the residue had been mostly painted over but the smell lingered.

    Meth use works the same - if there's a small room been used for smoking for many, many sessions it could end up badly contaminated. But that would be very rare. It might have happened... once. So we're into "as a lawyer I make this statement knowing that it is strictly correct".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1097 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    a culture that is focused on punishing people ... Somehow we've allowed our core social services to lose their raison d'etre.

    That's contested, though. The oligarchs have been vigorously pushing the idea that poor people are both worthless and must be punished. Many are Randians if not explicit eugenicists or social Darwinists. And a lot of people agree with them for various reasons.

    There was an interesting survey in Oz recently, asking "should benefits be cut below $300/wk" with about 40% support and "what's the minimum income you'd need to survive" with the average being over $600/wk. I am not entirely sure whether those questions were adjacent but the answers are revealing. There's some vicious othering going on.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1097 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I believe we have had plenty of examples in the past of how a virulent, all pervading ideology at the political leadership level that wishes to dehumanise a section of the population can then easily harness the power of a powerful bureaucracy eager to prove how effective it is at achieving outcomes that align to the wishes of the political leadership.

    A nickname for meth is crystal. Fitting, since housing NZ seems to have been in the grip of it’s very own kristallnacht against the poor.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2191 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    In the absence of any legal standard for safety around meth contamination (other than the Ministry of Health report in 2010 which sideswipes the question), what was the Tenancy Tribunal supposed to do prior to revised numbers in late 2016? Serious question. I’ve seen the grenades tossed, but what was this Tribunal supposed to do in *legal* terms? They can’t just make stuff up.

    The other issue I don’t hear mentioned much is liability. If there were no baseline tests than landlords would have no way of knowing for sure if their house was OK or not. If it was found to be unsafe, then remediation would be required. Who pays for that?

    Most of the stories I’ve read on this fail to deal with either of these questions.

    Clearly there was a failure at the political level. This left many officials to be thrown under the bus later for filling the void. HNZ certainly appears to have pandered to the National govt’s agenda, but the Tenancy Tribunal seems, for the most part, to have made a prudent, good faith effort to adjudicate decisions based on the best information available with even a shred of legal standing, however inadequate that information may have been.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Steve Withers,

    , however inadequate that information may have been.

    Inadequate is a polite term to use for the cock ups that followed.
    They took advice from people who stood to profit from that advice being acted upon.
    There's a warning bell right there.
    Whoever it was should have gotten other views from more qualified people straight away.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1697 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Steve Withers,

    what was this Tribunal supposed to do in *legal* terms?

    Ok to toss a grenade - In legal terms they were breaching the rights of tenants based on "evidence" that was false and known to be false.

    In legal terms - well I'm not a lawyer - but I'd say the tribunal has made decisions that are legally unsupportable and were unsupportable at the time.

    At the least many of their decisions should be legally overturned. But I'd imagine that will be a legal process and come too late for many poor (socially, emotionally and financially) people.

    So no I have NO sympathy for a tribunal that failed so utterly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4418 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Steve Withers,

    If it was found to be unsafe

    But it was never unsafe. Never ever ever. Not a single piece of data showing harm or even potential harm. Just a misused and misunderstood number.

    There should have been no remediation costs because remediation was utterly unnecessary.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4418 posts Report Reply

  • kiwiwolf,

    Having worked in a Government Dept abroad for many years I can assure you that the rules are laid out for you by law but the interpretation is always dictated by the Government and there minister and we are all aware now of the devastating agenda laid down by National...bordering on Criminal.

    Whangaparaoa • Since Sep 2014 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Withers,

    In the absence of any legal standard for safety around meth contamination (other than the Ministry of Health report in 2010 which sideswipes the question), what was the Tenancy Tribunal supposed to do prior to revised numbers in late 2016? Serious question. I’ve seen the grenades tossed, but what was this Tribunal supposed to do in *legal* terms? They can’t just make stuff up.

    Making stuff up is exactly what they did do. The tribunal repeatedly abused a guideline that wasn’t relevant and used it as the basis for huge awards of damages against people who will be paying them for many years to come, who will quite possibly die in debt to Housing NZ. (Its orders that homes which posed no possible health risk could only be entered by people in hazmat suits was really just the comedy bit.)

    And even after various parties came to it to point out it was misusing the guidelines, that advice was rejected. Any any point the tribunal could have sought independent scientific advice, but I’m not aware it even tried.

    And it has consistently refused to discuss its decisions, including the one above.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Bridget Burke's Checkpoint story: she got in touch with Jesse and discovered that he's still paying that testing fee back.

    Turns out Jesse went to Waitemata DHB, which is the one that provides detox services. They insist they didn't tell Housing NZ.

    So what the hell happened? Housing NZ refused to comment. And the Group Manager for Courts and Tribunals says the tribunal does not comment or decisions or the evidence offered in hearings. Not even, apparently, when there's apparently an egregious ethics and privacy breach. This is bullshit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    My experience of the tenancy tribunal was shocking. It was pro-landlord to a disgusting degree. They acknowledged an agent had lied and left me out of pocket, dismissed my case. When I appealed, guess who heard the appeal? The same guy who made the original decision. These people are a joke.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • kiwiwolf, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    Difficult to imagine any tribunal giving anyone a fair hearing under Nationals Regime

    Whangaparaoa • Since Sep 2014 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Withers,

    The other issue I don’t hear mentioned much is liability.

    Wonder if the insurance industry set some standards of their own - it's their bread and butter.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19481 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    that advice was rejected

    I'd like to see some actual people held accountable for doing that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19481 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to kiwiwolf,

    interpretation is always dictated by the Government

    ??WHAT?? So a law can be interpreted differently by a government? More like place themselves above the law.
    Drag these fuckers through court someone please!
    I was glad to see the back of the shonkey govt cause John took his idiot son with him when he went.
    But they all deserve to be dragged over hot coals just for this. Let alone all the other cock ups. Fucking seat warmers.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1697 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I wouldn't put it past HNZ to have used private detectives to follow Jesse around. Debt collectors seem to do this almost as a sideline.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10530 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    So what the hell happened? Housing NZ refused to comment. And the Group Manager for Courts and Tribunals says the tribunal does not comment or decisions or the evidence offered in hearings.

    Andrew Mckenzie has finally fronted up this morning. But he didn't sound particularly contrite. Very cool, very technocratic is our Mr. McKenzie.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2191 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Moz,

    Note the US has implemented the obvious version of this policy: it applies to everyone, not just the criminally poor.

    I'm aware of cases where drug dealers were couriering drugs to houses they expected to be empty during the day, and then picking the package up before the owners got home. The police found out and raided the place to be able to confiscate the house. (they looked up the house valuation on a real estate site before the raid). The police kicked the door in and shot the owner dead.

    Then they found out they had the wrong address. There wasn't even drugs couriered there without the owners knowledge - that was next door...

    But next door wasn't worth as much.

    The asset forfeiture rules in the US around drugs are used in evil ways.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Jones,

    As a former drug user, i can confirm that drug use and dealing has been going on at the Imperial apartments on Hobson Street for at least the last two decades. The building is well known amongst the drug using community. I do not understand how Housing New Zealand could prove that any contamination was caused by Jesse B or how he could be deemed legally responsible for the cost of the clean up when drug use has been prevalent on that site since Jesse would have been a toddler.

    As a current registered alcohol and drug practitioner working for an NGO i can advise that any disclosure to Housing NZ with regards to client engagement would be considered an enormous breach of client confidentiality. In order for that information to be released to HNZ Jesse would have had to sign a consent to release information. I am struggling to believe the WDHB would have disclosed Jesse's information to HNZ without his consent. Clients often consent to information being disclosed to WINZ in order for treatment to be paid directly from a WINZ benefit or to other financial institutions in order to have loan repayment holidays. I am inclined to be more skeptical of WINZ.

    If no consent was given Jesse has grounds for a breach of confidentiality complaint. A complaint can be made through DAPAANZ.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2018 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    Today's Tremain

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2575 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.