Sunday, January 23, 2011

Buying A Home In New Zealand? Get It Checked-Out For 'P' First - Updated

Along with a structural survey and a weathertightness check if you’re buying a home in New Zealand the latest advice is to have it checked-out for traces of P too.

Methamphetamine (P) “has New Zealand in it’s grip.” 

A former Hamilton detective has accused the Government of a “head in the sand mentality” when it comes to New Zealand’s growing drug culture.  The country now rates as having the third highest number of P users per capita in the world.

Methamphetamine  (P) manufacture and use is widespread throughout New Zealand. The chemicals used to ‘cook’ the expensive, highly addictive and dangerous drug (and the drug itself) can be absorbed into the fabric of a building, where they remain in dangerous quantities.

An increase in the use of the drug has fuelled a rise in insurance claims for damage caused to buildings during the manufacture of the drug. A spokesman for the NZ  Insurance Council estimates the costs were between $5 million – $10 million in 2010.

Now the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency says it has tested “in excess of several hundred” Kiwi homes for traces of drugs since 2008 and in 33% of cases test results have been positive.
NZDDA spokesman Nick McLeay said more home buyers were using the agency’s services and test results had proved they weren’t simply being “paranoid”. The positive test results prove it,” McLeay said.
People are just being cautious. They’re sayin, `Look I’m buying this house, it’s the most substantial thing I’m going to buy’, so they’re tagging it on along with the other tests they are routinely doing like water tightness and structural tests.”…
…NZDDA tests four rooms based on clients’ requests and “the most likely places to be used for cooking or consuming drugs”.
Of all tests undertaken traces of drugs were most prevalent in bedrooms, 30%; followed by kitchens, 23%; and bathrooms, 16%.
Almost a half of all tests done were in Auckland.
If you buy a contaminated home the possible symtoms of P exposure you may experience include:  nausea, headaches, skin problems and difficulty sleeping.  Children and infants may have stronger symptoms.

Auckland metro crime boss Chris Cahill said that as police found only 123 P labs nationwide between January and November 2010 and 120 in 2009, it was safe to conclude, “based on the volume of houses in New Zealand, that most homes haven’t been used as P labs”.

Usually contaminated properties are demolished because of the damaged caused manufacturing the drug but not all cook houses get discovered and ex-rental properties need special attention, according to Mr Cahill.

Mr Cahill told the Sunday News
“that as police found only 123 P labs nationwide between January and November 2010 and 120 in 2009, it was safe to conclude, “based on the volume of houses in New Zealand, that most homes haven’t been used as P labs”.
But just because police haven’t uncovered them it doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there in significant numbers.

On average 200 P labs are discovered on residential streets every year in New Zealand. “Drug experts have warned that makeshift labs are ticking time bombs that pose a risk to their occupants and to those who live unsuspectingly alongside themOften the labs are uncovered only by accident – or after they explode.”

The number uncovered is declining because ‘cooks’ get more adept at hiding them.

Related Story October 2010

My Dream Home was a P Lab - Days after moving into her dream home in the Western Bay "Lisa" began feeling ill, sores developed over most of her body. She had difficulty with breathing and vision, felt nauseous and fatigued and had headaches and dizzy spells. Two months later she saw a newspaper report that said her home had been occupied by someone who had been manufacturing P at a different address. Eventually she learned that her property had been issued with a police clandestine lab contamination letter the previous year.

She decided to have the property tested by a forensics agency, who found high levels of contamination and shut up the house that day. Despite extensive cleaning her health deteriorated further and the house remained contaminated. Eventually it had to be stripped back to the external walls and rebuilt.
Lisa incurred costs running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, none of which was covered by her insurance. Furthermore, the history of the house was not revealed on a local authority LIM report which would have been asked for prior to purchase.

Related Story 24 January 2011

Man badly burned in house explosion - Police think that the explosion at a family home in Paehoro Grove was probably not caused by P manufacture, its more likely that the occupant was burned whilst making cannabis oil.
"Vincent Wakely, who lives three doors away from the Paehoro Grove house, said the blast buffeted the side of his building.
"It was that loud. It hit the house with a real bang. It was very sudden and abrupt, like an earthquake." Mr Wakely went outside and saw light brown smoke billowing from the house's roof."

Want to find out more about crime in New Zealand? read our Crime Stats and Facts page

Want to know more about drugs in New Zealand? read Daniel Vae & New Zealand’s war on drugs

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