240 state houses contaminated with meth declared safe after inquiry

240 state houses will return to the housing stock after a change in the contamination standard. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

A report into the methamphetamine contamination levels of New Zealand homes has found that most homes that test positive contain safe levels of methamphetamine.

The report will lead to a change in the standard for meth testing and 240 Housing New Zealand properties which had tested positive for meth will return to the public housing stock within weeks.

The study by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman found that the current standard of 1.5 micrograms per 100 square cm was too stringent. This standard was taken from a recommendation of an appropriate level a former meth-lab should be cleaned to.

The new level will be 15 micrograms per 100 square cm. The new standard is estimated to save Housing New Zealand $30 million a year.

The measurement for a safe level of residue likely to accrue after meth use had taken place at a property was much higher.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said he had asked Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi to initiate a review into how Standards New Zealand set the standard for appropriate levels of meth contamination.