HNZ does not know how many homeless due to meth tests – Auckland Action Against Poverty

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In an interview with One News, Housing New Zealand admitted to not knowing how many people are still homeless after being evicted because of faulty meth contamination testing. Auckland Action Against Poverty condemns Housing New Zealand for their continuous inaction to support the people it evicted throughout administration of meth testing.

“Housing New Zealand’s admission that it does not know how many people remain homeless because of their policies is unacceptable and representative of the toxic culture within the Ministry that disregards their tenants’ well being”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.

“Over 800 Housing New Zealand tenancies were terminated, affecting over 2,400 people and leaving most of them homeless. Many of the evicted tenants lost all their belongings because they were considered to be contaminated and some subsequently racked up thousands of dollars of debt with the Ministry of Social Development from emergency accommodation grants.

“The prospect of compensation could be life changing for these tenants, but Housing New Zealand has taken no proactive effort to contact the people affected by the evictions. Instead, it is relying on people to self-identify themselves, raising the barriers people face to receive assistance even higher.

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“Housing New Zealand and Minister Phil Twyford should be doing everything they possibly can to get in touch with people and promptly compensate them. The Government is currently looking at compensating individuals somewhere between $4000 to $15,000, figures that would barely scratch the surface of the financial and emotional damage caused to people because of these evictions.

“An apology without meaningful action to compensate people is valueless. And Housing New Zealand cannot just push a small amount of cash as compensation on to people and expect the damage it has caused to tenants who have been unfairly evicted to disappear.

“While the meth testing regime was carried out by the last National Government, it is the current Labour-led Government that has access to the levers of power to make things right for the evicted tenants hold Housing New Zealand officials accountable for the damage caused.

“We are calling on Phil Twyford to intervene and demand Housing New Zealand proactively reach out all the evicted families and work with the Ministry of Social Development and Housing New Zealand to provide all assistance available to repair the damage done.”