Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.

111 Responses

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  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    My received (unreliable) understanding is that the initial test used is a cheap(er) yes/no test. If the test comes back with “yes”, the next step is the more expensive test which tests the level of contamination; the type of remediation required depends on the contamination level.

    I don’t know at what point the eviction kicks in (or rather, kicks out...) – whether it’s after the “yes”, or whether it’s after the level test, or whether it’s above a certain level of contamination.

    I don’t think it should occur anywhere. And it’s even more disturbing to hear that tenants are being evicted on the basis of a positive test when there’s no way of showing whether it was the current tenant who was responsible. Quite apart from drug policy, that’s not even natural justice.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    that’s not even natural justice.

    I think you have mistaken the purpose of the system. This is not a just system, it is an economy.When justice conflicts with money, we choose money. Yay us! Vote money! The good news is that people are increasingly voting for more justice even if it means less money (not least because it's become obvious that they're not going to be getting the money)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    that’s not even natural justice

    Absolutely.

    Maybe it's because I'm a bit jetlagged but this has left me quite depressed and horrified.

    I know those working in our social services can become war weary and cynical. But this policy is just inhumane. When did our society become so uncaring? At what point did we allow this contempt for the social welfare state become so ingrained that we can do this to our own citizens?

    I get that state systems can become inefficient at times and that sometimes a market led process can get better value for our tax dollars. But this level of contempt for the actual people being harmed goes beyond any mere desire to use taxes efficiently.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Quite apart from drug policy, that’s not even natural justice.

    Depending on what power the department is exercising to do this, that could be grounds for judicial review.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    Housing NZ isn't simply evicting people... see this from last week? http://www.hnzc.co.nz/news/latest-news/tribunals-methamphetamine-ruling-sends-strong-message/

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    .

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    When did our society become so uncaring?

    I'd say it's been a steady progression. A gradual erosion of the concept of social welfare that's been going on for as long as I can remember.

    This housing stuff is particularly crazy though. Our economic system went through the looking glass decades ago when it stopped including the biggest cost in our lives (housing) as part of inflation. Then we set up a system whereby the means to control inflation is primarily driven through interest rates that mostly affect the cost of housing, that being by far the largest source of borrowing.

    So we have the body that is charged to keep inflation within a range deliberately holding down inflation of wages, whilst our main cost rises in double digits for years on end. And the way they hold inflation down is to dick around with how much money home owners can borrow, which has a huge effect on that unmeasured statistic that's driving the real inflation figures through the roof.

    When your economic system is run in a way that is essentially cray, right from the get-go, anyone who is looking out for their interests has to do it by getting with the cray. You're either in property, or you're going backwards, in this country. Now we're at the point that so many people are going backwards that they're not only not owners of property, they're not even renters. They're homeless.

    But this stuff is boring economics that no one really understands. I don't, that's for sure. When you're faced with an incomprehensible and systematically fucked economy, it's the easy choice of many to just find a way to try to make it work within it's own rhetorical structure. The idea of reward for worth and work, and the corollary of punishment for worthlessness and indolence is something people cling to, to make sense of an insane system. It's easier than just admitting that this system is so out of control that it is hard to imagine how it could be fixed short of highly drastic measures. It's difficult for "pragmatic centrists" to do anything else at this point, because all the ways out of this hole involve multiple uphill movements, made at the same time, together. A system this broken can't be fixed by incremental movements.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    At what point did we allow this contempt for the social welfare state become so ingrained that we can do this to our own citizens?

    It started way back in November 2008.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to B Jones,

    Oh yeah, judicial review, but then, who can afford a lawyer to prepare and file for this?

    Ah, legal aid was cut back and made harder to get years ago.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/10285613/Legal-aid-funding-limits-creating-justice-gap

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Housing NZ isn’t simply evicting people… see this from last week?

    $20,000 in remediation costs for smoking P in a house?

    Over the last few years, Housing New Zealand has placed greater focus on identifying homes where P may be used, or may have been used in the past (rather than manufactured).

    “As a responsible landlord, our policy is to not knowingly permit tenants to live in a property that registers readings above Ministry of Health levels. This supports our commitment to providing a healthy environment for our tenants.

    This at least does indicate some reference to the MoH guidelines, but even the MoH document essentially says the risk is speculative.

    How many houses actually have harmful levels of residues as a result of past meth use? How many people have been kicked out on the basis of meth residue they're not even responsible for?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    How many houses actually have harmful levels of residues as a result of past meth use?

    For that matter, is meth residue even harmful at all? What is a harmful level? How harmful? I expect most money that we touch with our hands a lot has meth residue on it, because somewhere along the line of the last few hundred people handling it there will have been a meth user. I expect most taxis, buses, public seats, you get into have been got into by people literally covered in meth residue, having just used it. Probably a non-zero proportion of the food you eat will have been handled by a meth user. Probably any time you visit your lawyer, the client chair you sit in will be covered in meth molecules. Putting people in a prison cell? Human rights violation! It had a meth user in it, only hours before. Has it been stripped back to the joists and rebuilt? The policeman who arrests you has literally been handling massive baggies (like maybe even a few grams!!) of meth. The boot of his car is meth molecule central, all the bacteria in there are off their nuts. The evidence lockers at the cop shop will never be free of those molecules.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If you want to see how extravagant this stuff gets, the MethSolutions (the company responsible for many of the panic headlines this year) Scale of the Problem page is a goodie.

    Apparently there might be hundreds of thousands of properties used as meth labs in New Zealand!

    Or to put it another way, several meth labs for every meth user in the country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    For that matter, is meth residue even harmful at all? What is a harmful level? How harmful?

    Probably not very, according to, y'know, toxicologists.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    No surprise to hear meth testing is a cowboy paradise. NZ can't even regulate quality of crucial steel reinforcing mesh after #eqnz - or our fisheries or our polluted waterways. Our regulators appear to find their responsibilities inconvenient. Libertarianism ftw.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I am reminded of the cocaine contaminated currency

    http://www.snopes.com/business/money/cocaine.asp

    Except this is like testing a beneficiaries wallet and cancelling their benefit if cash tests positive. This is not to be taken as a suggestion, it is to be taken as an illustration of how stupid the policy is.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    several meth labs for every meth user in the country.

    what a market! should get em to run housing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And what about houses where somebody is prescribed Ritalin or Adderall - they might drop a pill and crush it into the carpet, presumably rendering the neighbourhood uninhabitable..

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Abbie,

    Even if this mother of eight has been smoking meth, there are eight children involved here, all still living with her, I think I heard. Surely some wrap around care and support can be justified on so many levels - not the least being to give those children the best opportunity to choose different paths in the future. But rather than supporting the mother, no, she must be punished and of course it is then deemed to be her fault that the children are punished as well.

    North Taranaki • Since Sep 2012 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Russell Brown,

    MethSolutions (the company responsible for many of the panic headlines

    Looking at that website they're just a bunch of wideboys clothed in slick language.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And another Machiavellian thought on the housing crisis/bubble: how easy would it be to introduce P and cocaine to Auckland's hyperclasses? Then sit back and watch the evictions in the leafy areas.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And another Machiavellian thought on the housing crisis/bubble: how easy would it be to introduce P and cocaine to Auckland’s hyperclasses? Then sit back and watch the evictions in the leafy areas.

    Oh, that crowd went through the P thing years ago. No one ever tests stately villas for meth.

    NB: Not joking. That happened.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oh, that crowd went through the P thing years ago. No one ever tests stately villas for meth.

    NB: Not joking. That happened.

    So it's just like the American War on Drugs focusing on pot smoking homies instead of powder-snorting stockbrokers?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    So it's just like the American War on Drugs focusing on pot smoking homies instead of powder-snorting stockbrokers?

    Hasn't that been the case in NZ since before we had drug squads, back when the vice squads enforced drug laws? Exercise caution around filthy hippies with posh accents, you never can tell for sure whose dad might be a high court judge.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Pete white,

    Here are 10 'poisons' in the true sense of the word ......... for some reason the World Health Organization forgot to put meth on there.....

    http://www.who.int/ipcs/features/chemicals_concern/en/

    The current levels at which a house is considered 'contaminated' with meth is one two millionth of a gram .5ug .......... over an area of 10square centimeters.

    By my rough maths a child would have to lick 250 sq meters of walls and floors to ingest 100th of a gram.

    They would get lead poisoning trying to do that .....

    "By today’s standards – and the CDC’s latest guideline of 5 – that’s terrifyingly lax. And the bar just keeps dropping; no safe blood lead level has yet been identified.

    Hinton found that even by 1988 standards, which seem so loose in hindsight, almost 60% of the 260 preschoolers tested had slightly or significantly elevated blood lead levels. Further, a third of babies younger than 10 months had slightly elevated levels, and a quarter of schoolchildren had slightly or significantly elevated levels. "

    http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/ecologic/the-dreaded-lead/

    "When you have a large population exposed, you don’t know what’s going to be the effect for any individual, but you can predict with horrifying accuracy what the effects will be across the entire population.”

    "LIFETIME EFFECTS

    When lead is ingested or inhaled, it travels to the bloodstream and accumulates in the bones. It is then re-released into the system, meaning a child or adult exposed to too much lead may be re-exposed long after the original exposure.
    EFFECTS ON ADULTS

    • Can damage the brain, affect fertility, increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, and raise blood pressure. In pregnant women, lead can cross the placenta and damage the fetus. Also linked to anaemia, seizures, hearing loss, nausea, fatigue.
    • Possible symptoms: headaches, irritability, aggressive behaviour, insomnia, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, constipation, anaemia.
    SOURCES

    • Lead-based paint peeling off or being unsafely removed from your house or a neighbour’s. Previous shoddy renovations.
    • Soil and house dust.
    • Food (lead particles can coat the skin of vegetables; wash before eating).
    • Lead-painted toys or furniture, some Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicines.
    • Pica: children eating dirt or paint.
    • Hobbies: particularly indoor shooting and leadlighting.
    • Drinking water from lead pipes.
    EFFECTS ON CHILDREN

    • Can be permanent and irreversible.
    • Low levels are often undetected: no obvious symptoms. Child might be fatigued, irritable, losing weight, pale or weak.
    • Can lead to learning disabilities, diminished IQ, behavioural problems, malformed bones, organ damage, hearing problems, slow growth.
    • Very high levels can cause seizures, coma, death."

    half a million homes are estimated to be 'contaminated' .........................

    wellington • Since May 2016 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Or to put it another way, several meth labs for every meth user in the country.

    Bill English would chalk that up as a surplus!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

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