Here’s what Miles Stratford is sending out on the MethSolutions mailing list.
Note the attempt to reframe this as just being a part of looking after your investment, getting a better class of tenant etc. And following the CSA's recommendations on testing thresholds "will take the spotlight off meth users and their behaviour". Wait, I thought it was about terrible risks to human health?
Office of Prime Minister Chief Scientific Advisor Meth Contamination Report Advice to Real Estate Professionals
As you can imagine yesterday’s report caused some disruption and a great deal of our day was spent answering questions from the media. Today we turn our focus to the interests of our valued clients.
We recognise that it is unlikely too many of your clients will consider the dubiousness of a report from ‘trusted’ sources, that matches exactly with the long-standing socio-political agenda of a government minister, which he articulated while in opposition. It’s more likely that many will be wondering, and asking you, why they are spending money on meth testing.
Many among you recognise the risk meth users present to an investment proposition and are smart enough to know that it makes sense to do so. The notes below are provided so that you can have a good conversation with your owners and they can make informed choices about how their investments get managed.
If you have any questions regarding this, please contact our team on 0800 6384 522.
Managing meth risk is done so that meth users are discouraged from choosing that property to rent in the first place.
Adopting a proactive approach to meth use or manufacture in an investment property has never been about making sure that the contamination they leave behind is limited to whatever a Guideline or Standard might suggest is acceptable.
Meth management of a property is about mitigating risk – the risk to your clients, the risk to their investment, and the risk to your staff – in many areas over and above health. Implementing a meth management strategy improves investment returns and demonstrates an understanding of the need to help owners manage and mitigate a risk that can seriously compromise their investment. When things go wrong with an investment property, it is always the property manager’s fault. Things are far more likely to go wrong when tenants are meth users.
Meth management improves tenant quality and investment returns
By adopting a proactive approach to MethManagement investors can attract better quality tenants who:
• Want nothing to do with meth
• Look after the property better – reducing repair and maintenance costs
• Stay longer because they have found a ‘safe place’ in communities that are often rife with meth use and related behaviour
Meth management reduces risk
While some industry pundits lack the wit to understand risk management, fortunately many property management and real estate business owners do.
A Government study showed 32% of long-term users had a go at manufacturing meth – in the absence of a meth management programme, how will you deter these people from renting your property?
Meth labs are mobile. Meth users secure drugs by allowing mobile meth labs to set up in ‘their’ home – in the absence of a meth management programme, how will you prevent this from happening?
Violence and unpredictable behaviour are a feature of meth users – in the absence of a meth management programme, how will you reduce the risk meth users present to your staff?
Every day, a meth user has to choose whether to feed the meth pipe, feed the kids, feed the electricity meter or pay the rent. All too often, the pipe wins – how much time do your staff have for chasing missing rent payments? And how will you communicate this to your clients?
Standard property management practices have limited effect on reducing meth risk
As you know, the ability of standard property management practices to weed out and deter people who choose to use meth are limited. Our stats suggest that systems and processes that are specifically targeting meth-related behaviour can reduce the risk of meth activity in a home by about 20% when compared to base levels within your region.
Again, when things go wrong with an investment property, it is always the property manager’s fault. Things are far more likely to go wrong when tenants are meth users.
RTA obligations are not altered by this new advice
While Minister Twyford has sent a signal to Housing New Zealand tenants that they have carte blanche to use meth in HNZ properties, investment property owners would be wise to avoid doing so.
In the absence of a meth test at the beginning and end of a tenancy, you cannot confirm what the meth status of a property is.
Using, as the report recommends, an ‘Instant Answer’ Kit that only shows a positive above 15µg will take the spotlight off meth users and their behaviour. It also means an owner won’t be able to hold a tenant accountable and increases the risk that tenants will find themselves in a property where meth residues exceed the levels in this report. Owners will still need to abate rent AND run the real risk of paying tenants back, even where the tenants themselves are responsible.
Wants versus Needs
MethSolutions has consistently provided property managers and investors with advice they need in order to protect their businesses and property assets from meth criminals. To be clear, we don’t stand to make money from positive results and we don’t clip the ticket on decontamination of properties. We appreciate that this report is what many people will want to hear. We also believe it is important that you ensure owners receive balanced advice, such that they make informed decisions.
Just because the goal posts appear to have shifted does not mean that New Zealanders will put down the meth pipe. The risks from meth users remain. Where this latest advice is followed, costs associated with managing contamination from meth will be reduced. But, it is the actions of the self-oriented people who choose to use meth that place your business and your clients’ investments at risk.
We will continue to offer support to those people who recognise the need to manage meth risk. For those who want to believe meth does not present a risk, good luck.
PS. If you have clients who lease to HNZ, they would be wise to double check what implications this policy shift has for their investments.
Russell’s work on this has been a big part of it – some of gluckman’s comments on tv3 tonight seemed almost word for word what I read in Russell’s piece 2 years ago.
You can imagine how I felt reading the report. I had a bit of an emotional moment, tbh.
If you can, do support this site- this has been a really obvious and public demonstration of the value it has, and the great work of so many contributors.
The article (in a blog for a drug-rehab centre) tell us how bad Ritalin really is.
Lol, remind me not to get advice from your friend: meth isn't "used in Ritalin", they're completely different chemicals which produce somewhat similar effects through quite different actions.
I think the answer is much more likely to be in the entrenched risk aversion of the Wellington bureaucracy rather than in any nefarious scheme.
Agreed. I think it shows up the flaws in business-as-usual rather than any real conspiracy.
And here comes the new Housing NZ policy:
Based on the findings in the CSA report from today we’re moving the level which triggers the need for decontamination activity - if a Housing NZ property tests between 1.5 µg/100 cm2 and 15 µg/100 cm2, decontamination is not triggered.
We’ll continue to test where we suspect meth lab activity or very heavy meth use, and if a property tests higher than 15 µg/100 cm2 and a methamphetamine lab or very heavy use has been identified, we’ll decontaminate in accordance with the current Standards to a level of 1.5 µg/100 cm2.
And what this means:
Using the CSA’s findings and recommendations will mean a greater number of state homes will be available to households in need because we will not be unnecessarily decontaminating at the levels we have been.
It’s remarkable how long the meth-testing industry kept up the pretence.
MethSolutions’ Miles Stratford issued this deeply deceptive press statement only a few weeks ago – clumsily attacking the Drug Foundation (and clearly looking to take advantage over the Massey High School flap).
These efforts have been led by Ross Bell of the NZ Drug Foundation. Bell has labelled the meth testing and decontamination industry a ‘scam’. Naturally, this line of thinking appeals to the economic interest of property owners (private landlords or HNZ) who are inconvenienced by meth residues and can find themselves footing some sizeable bills.
It should be pointed out that Bell’s focus is on minimisation of harm to the people who choose to use drugs like methamphetamine. His focus is not on the people who own the property assets or those who later live in meth- affected houses, like the tenant featured in Stuff.
Bell is involved with groups who have the ultimate goal of getting all drugs, including meth, decriminalised. Meth residues causing problems for independent property owners puts pressure on Bell’s constituency not to use and makes achievement of this goal less likely.
Bell’s righteously indignant ‘scam’ claims are ‘validated’ by the ‘science’ of Dr. Nick Kim. Dr Kim’s opinion is not held by all scientists. While Dr. Kim may be happy with meth levels of 12.5μg/100cm2, most scientists around the world focus on a level of 1 – 1.5μg/100cm2. Some remain convinced that the level should be lower. Australia has a limit of 0.5μg/100cm2 for both use and manufacture of meth. At 1.5μg/100cm2 the level that is part of the Standard, has clear precedent and is well support by science, if not public sentiment.
I feel immense comfort today that people like Miles Stratford won’t have a business for much longer.
Henry Cooke's report on Stuff:
"There is absolutely no evidence in the medical literature of anyone being harmed from passive use, at any level," Gluckman said.
"We can't find one case."
Gluckman said testing and cleaning still made sense when there was suspicion that methamphetamine had been produced on a property, or used at extremely high levels - but this was more to do with reassurance.
He said a "moral panic" around cleaning remediation had occurred only in New Zealand. If science had been involved earlier in the policy-making process this could have been avoided.
Phil Twyford's press release.
Sir Peter’s report found that remediation according to the NZS 8510: 2017 standard is appropriate only for identified former meth labs and properties where heavy meth use has been determined.
Along with NZS 8510: 2017, it will contribute to any regulations that may be made under the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2), soon to have its second reading in the House.
“I expect, pending Cabinet agreement, that there will be a public consultation document on meth regulations later this year,” Phil Twyford says.
As the Drug Foundation has observed this morning, Sir Peter's report calls for a new meth screening test regime, set at much higher levels, properly based on risk.
Within five minutes he was getting more and more exercised about the need for P testing: “You never know who’s been in here!!! Half of [upscale suburb] is on P!!!! We test EVERY house for P!! It’s essential.”. At which point I pointed out that two 90-year-olds had lived there for 30 years and that it was not going to happen.
My god, imagine how many times that bloody scenario has played out in the last few years.