Working in this industry, we are privy to a lot more information than the average Kiwi when it comes to meth, for better or worse! Here are a few myths we hear being bandied about that we thought we’d set straight:

Meth Myth #1: I don’t have to worry about meth – it’s only being cooked and used in low socio-economic areas and remote locations.

So not true! Housing Minister Phil Twyford recently said, “The fact is, the police will tell you that people aren’t manufacturing P in houses anymore. They are in clandestine labs in the bush in a remote location.” Ironically after he said this, police busted a meth lab in a Mt. Roskill house in Auckland! And shortly after there was a raid on a suburban home in Te Atatu (where Phil Twyford is based) where police found $2.5 million in cash, plus a couple of kilos of meth and a few military style guns. Meth is everywhere.

See other suburbs meth has been found HERE – they might surprise you…

Meth Myth #2: New Zealanders don’t need to worry about meth – it’s not really a big deal.

Meth IS a big deal. The use of it in NZ has ramifications on tenant behavior, health (of current and future tenants) and properties not to mention the wider impact on the community. We’ve all seen the stories in the media of houses contaminated with meth – ask those landlords if they think meth isn’t a big deal! But we can work to change this – MethSolutions has developed risk management strategies that mitigate the risk of meth in a house you own or manage and which help property management and real estate professionals provide better services to their customers. And if you’re confronted with a positive meth test, we have the experience to help you deal with it. Meth is a big deal, but don’t make the mistake of burying your head in the sand to avoid that fact – unfortunately that won’t change anything!

We get it – if the “acceptable” level of meth was lower, it would mean less rental properties would require decontamination and therefore cost landlords/insurers less. We definitely don’t believe people should be scaremongered into spending a lot of money and really feel for those that do (it’s exactly why we launched our MethMinder alarm, so owners/property managers can be warned of any meth manufacture before extensive damage is done). We believe the acceptable levels should be as high as they can be WITHOUT compromising health, safety and wellbeing. Yes, we have also heard Dr. Nick Kim publicly state that the acceptable levels of meth in property should be higher but the independent science behind the guidelines/standards for meth contamination around the world do not support his opinion.

Meth Myth #4: The levels in the Standard NZS8510 were developed by a bunch of self-serving meth-testing companies.

The levels in the Standard were developed by ESR, New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute that specialises in science relating to people and communities. These were done independently of any input from members of the Standards Committee. The role of the Standards Committee later was to take these ESR recommendations and make them a practical standard that would provide the public with certainty around what levels meant and actions they should take.

Meth Myth #5: It’s easy to tell if a property’s meth contamination is from meth being manufactured or meth being smoked/used.

Technically, there is no way of categorically stating what has occurred based on meth levels alone. A “good” meth cook can be really clean and leave little contamination behind; conversely, people consuming lots of meth can produce levels that would have you thinking it must have been a lab.

Meth Myth #6: Meth use is something that’s been hyped up by the media – not that many people actually use it.

Oh how you would be surprised! A recent pilot scheme of wastewater analysis over four months tested wastewater in Auckland, Christchurch and Whangarei for five different drugs. Each month, meth was the most prevalent drug across all three locations. Meth is very much a part of our society, unfortunately.

Meth Myth #7: I’ll be able to spot a meth user or cook – I’ll never have one in my rental.

This is the biggest myth of all. People think it’s just gangs and the dregs of society but it really isn’t: we know of judges, housewives, hard-working tradespeople and even real estate agents who have used meth! Meth is expensive – to afford the habit you either have to have a high-profile job, deal it, steal for it, or make your money through other means. It’s not uncommon for P users to start making it themselves or allowing people to cook it at their property, just so they can afford to keep using it – this is what you have to be wary of, people cooking at your property. It’s amazing how quickly things escalate. Moral of the story: don’t be too hasty to judge who is a meth user/cook and who isn’t because it’s not as easy to pick them as you think!

Meth Myth #8: Meth testing is a scam industry.

Ok, here’s how it goes. For many New Zealanders, the presence of meth at any level reduces the desirability of a property, which impacts on the market value. This is not good news, we know. However, meth is a very real issue – people are smoking it and cooking it everywhere from Remuera to Fendalton and more often than not they’re using rentals to do it in. We get that it’s upsetting to get a meth test come back positive – it is not our intention to scare you. And we are not here to catch you out. Our responsibility is to make sure you don’t get caught out by exposing tenants to unacceptable levels of meth.

In order to keep you safe and your future tenants, you need to know if there is meth involved so you can deal with it. And if you’re going to test, you need to test properly for an accurate result, otherwise you’ll end up in the same position a few years and a few tenants down the line.

Our best advice? Manage your risk now. Establish the meth status of a property with lab-backed testing. Install a silent MethMinder alarm so you’re alerted if the chemicals involved in meth are used. When you work with us, we’ll advise you if you do get a positive result and then help you understand what this means and how to respond. Rest assured, we don’t make money out of decontaminating houses. Our focus is on getting the best result for you, with as little stress and worry possible.