Second cleanup of meth at complex
A Christchurch social housing complex unit has been decontaminated for methamphetamine – the second in the two and a half years since it reopened following significant earthquake repairs.
The Gloucester St complex is made up of 22 units, home to about 70 people. Most are owned by Housing New Zealand (HNZ). The complex is across the road from Christchurch East School.
It has had a troubled history since it reopened in October 2014, with several complaints and arrests linked to the address.
HNZ area manager Fraser Benson said methamphetamine was a growing issue ‘‘not just for Housing New Zealand, but for our country as a whole’’.
HNZ decontaminated 766 properties nationally in the last year, 58 of which were in the Canterbury/Nelson region. It owns about 64,000 houses.
In 2014, HNZ detected methamphetamine in 101 properties, including two in Christchurch.
The average cost to test, decontaminate and retest a methanphetamine-affected property is $15,000, though it can vary depending on the level of contamination.
Benson said there had been an increase in meth detection in HNZ properties because of improved processes for identifying contamination, better information sharing with police and other agencies, and a more proactive approach to testing.
A resident in the units said HNZ’s tenant management ‘‘appears to be so negligent that it’s dangerous’’.
‘‘There appears to be an unreasonable deficit with Housing New Zealand’s management of the complex, that it’s failing in terms of managing these situations at the earliest opportunity.’’
He said the negligence was creating a ‘‘ghetto-like environment’’, and claimed people smoking drugs in outdoor common areas was common. ‘‘These units are becoming known as Housing New Zealand houses of horror . . . when in fact this is nice housing where people could have homes and move forward with their lives.’’