Northlander among tenants to get compensation
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.