North­lander among ten­ants to get com­pen­sa­tion

The Northland Age - - Local News -

A North­lander is among the first 55 peo­ple na­tion­wide to be paid com­pen­sa­tion for be­ing wrongly evicted from a Hous­ing NZ house af­ter a flawed metham­phetamine test.

The Govern­ment changed rules on Fri­day so the com­pen­sa­tion would not af­fect any ben­e­fits, and the first pay­ments were made on Mon­day.

Hous­ing NZ would not re­veal the in­di­vid­ual pay­ment de­tails, but Hous­ing Min­is­ter Phil Twyford said the av­er­age pay­ment so far was $7735. Each af­fected ten­ant has re­ceived a for­mal apol­ogy from Hous­ing NZ.

One Dou­ble Five Com­mu­nity House’s Carol Peters said the com­mu­nity house has dealt with a lot of these cases and is mak­ing sure peo­ple are aware of their en­ti­tle­ment.

She said the process of los­ing a house can not only be un­set­tling but af­fects fam­ily re­la­tion­ships as well. “Many of the peo­ple have gone into crowded liv­ing sit­u­a­tions be­cause they don’t have any al­ter­na­tives.”

Twyford said Hous­ing NZ is fronting up and re­dress­ing the hard­ships caused by the meth de­ba­cle.

Be­tween July 2013 and last May nearly 5000 Hous­ing NZ prop­er­ties were tested for meth con­tam­i­na­tion, but the test­ing guide­lines had lit­tle merit and had cost $100 mil­lion in un­nec­es­sary tests and clean-up.

About half tested pos­i­tive for the stan­dard at the time, which was 10 times lower than the new stan­dard that has been in place since May. Many peo­ple threw out all their be­long­ings be­cause of fear of meth con­tam­i­na­tion.

“Hous­ing NZ is work­ing with other govern­ment agen­cies to find those af­fected and con­tact has been made with 295 peo­ple so far. A fur­ther 92 as­sis­tance claims have been ap­proved, and once an of­fer has been made and ac­cepted, these pay­ments will be made im­me­di­ately.”

Hous­ing NZ con­firmed there were four North­landers among 92 claims that had been ap­proved.

HNZ asks any oth­ers who may have been ad­versely af­fected to con­tact it, as it has con­tacted only 295 of about 800 el­i­gi­ble ten­ants.

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