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NZPIF added to meth committee

Last minute adjustment means that landlords will be represented on the committee working on a meth testing standard after all.

Tuesday, July 5th 2016, 12:00AM

by Miriam Bell

Concerns were raised when the Standards New Zealand committee tasked with developing a testing and remediation standard for meth contaminated properties did not feature a representative for landlords.

Further, of the then-18 member committee over half of the members were from the meth testing and remediation sector itself.

However, the NZ Property Investors Federation will now be joining the committee.

NZPIF executive officer Andrew King said he attended the first meeting of the committee last week as an observer.

“But, once the NZPIF is confirmed by Standards New Zealand as a member, I’ll be attending as an independent representative.”

The now-19 member committee has eight representatives from testing or cleaning companies, six who are central or local government officials and four who are independent.

Besides the NZPIF, the other independent representatives are from the Independent Property Managers Association, the Insurance Council and Housing NZ.

King said that committee members are not allowed to comment on committee proceedings to the media.

However, he is hopeful that the work of scientists like Massey University toxicologist Dr Nick Kim will be taken into account in the development of the standard.

Kim peer-reviewed the Ministry of Health’s meth lab clean-up guidelines when they were developed six years ago.

He recently made the headlines because of a study he has completed into the residual meth left in properties due to smoking, rather than manufacture.

In Kim’s view, the lowest plausible level for a health effect from residual meth in a property was 24 times the Ministry of Health guidelines – which are intended for meth labs.

Kim told media to picture a grain of salt and imagine it being divided into 1,000 pieces.

“If one of these pieces was then a grain of meth that was dissolved and applied to a 100cm2 area, this is the equivalent of the current Ministry of Health guidelines.”

As landlords.co.nz has reported, Kim is not the only scientist to present an alternative view to the dominant theme of the discourse on the issue. 

Earlier this year, National Poisons Centre toxicologist Dr Leo Schep told media that the smoking and manufacture of meth pose separate issues.

He said properties where past tenants had used meth might have some evidence of low concentrations on surfaces, but minimal risks of toxicity.

King said this all meant that, while the current Ministry of Health guidelines don't relate to smoking and are too low, they are the only guidelines available.

Meanwhile, members of the general public are genuinely scared of related health issues and the Tenancy Tribunal is currently finding against landlords.

For these reasons, there is some urgency associated with the committee’s work.

However, the final version of the standard is not expected to be ready until next year.

« Meth bill on the cardsImprove fire safety – Fire Service »

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