Methamphetamine contamination in New Zealand homes overstated, says Drug Detection Agency boss
The scale of methamphetamine contamination problems in New Zealand homes is being overstated, the head of the country's biggest drug detection company says.
Kirk Hardy, of The Drug Detection Agency, made the call as it was revealed a New Plymouth grandmother's home has again tested positive for the Class A drug.
Hardy said the statistics did not represent the majority of New Zealand households.
"There is probably a bit of scaremongery going on in terms of how big the problem is," the former drug squad detective said.
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"Yes, it's bad but what we are talking about is very particular to one market and that's basically your rental or tenancy market.
"You can't look at the statistics and say 'right we've got an epidemic or another leaky house syndrome'."
Hardy wanted to see national standards established and testers to have the proper qualifications and accreditation.
"You have got a number of different organisations out there testing using different methodology but there is no regulatory body around it.
"What we've seen happen in the last three years, a lot of people with no experience in the drug scene or really no experience in what to look for with clandestine laboratories jump on the market."
His call for national standards were echoed by Harcourts chief executive Chris Kennedy.
"In my investigations I've found that the testers and cleaners have differing viewpoints on the severity of contamination and the methods for decontamination," Kennedy said.
"We need some standards put into place to protect consumers and the government needs to take the lead on this."
Kerryanne Hopkins is facing a hefty bill to clean the two bedroom unit on Frankley Rd that she bought in October 2015.
The 49-year-old made the shocking discovery that her house had been contaminated when she tried to sell the property and some potential buyers had it tested.
Hopkins, who wants drug testing to be made mandatory when properties changed hands, cleaned her home from top to bottom and arranged for her own testing to be done to identify where the contamination was.
"Well my bedroom is the worse, quite a high reading, they'd obviously been sitting in bed all night puffing up large," she said.
Ministry of Health guidelines state levels must be below 0.5 micrograms/100cm2 (square centimetres).
The second bedroom and kitchen showed traces of methamphetamine but the rumpus room test also exceeded Ministry of Health guidelines.
Hopkins, who had since moved out of her bedroom and into the lounge, said she had been told it would cost thousands to clean her home, so she planned to have another go herself before getting the house tested again.
"I will strip all varnish off bedroom wall, wash walls with isopropyl alcohol and re-sugar soap then oil walls and hopefully I'll be OK."
She also wanted to see national guidelines established for testing standards to remove "cowboys" from the industry.
Hopkins said she had been overwhelmed with positive feedback and messages of support since she went public with the issue.