New Zealand’s Methamphetamine Epidemic: Family Forced to Evacuate Contaminated Home

meth lab

The average home meth lab looks nothing like the set of Breaking Bad

Thinking of emigrating to New Zealand?

Did you know the country has the third highest rate of methamphetamine (aka Meth, Cystal Meth, P or Pure ) use in the world?

Meth 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 and have serious effects on the health of the people living there. Two forms of meth are cooked in New Zealand: free base (methamphetamine base) and a hydrochloride salt (methamphetamine hydrochloride),

If you’re thinking about buying, or renting, a home in New Zealand you’re advised to have it checked out for meth contamination. A family of seven from the  little town Tokoroa (pop. 13,600 and declining) are the latest forced to evacuate their home

A family of seven has been left stranded by their landlord when the house they rented tested six times over the national safety limit for P residue.

Tara-Leigh, who only wants to be known by her christian name, and her partner were forced to sleep in their car when a cleansing order was put on their Tokoroa house by the South Waikato District Council.

The couple was shocked to learn they had been living in a P house since the end of June after a neighbour told them three weeks ago…

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. In 2010 a spokesman for the NZ  Insurance Council estimated the costs were between $5 million – $10 million.

Meth labs don’t just present a hazard because of the nature of the drug that is being manufactured but there is also the risk of property damage due to explosion and fire. Waste products may be dumped in the surrounding area where your kids play, or diffuse into your property. Drug dealing goes on around P houses and the streets are busy night and day with people calling at the house, there are increased levels of crime.

If you want to learn how to spot a meth house read How to tell if a P lab is operating in your neighbourhood

Related Stories

Another P Lab on Auckland’s North Shore – Police uncovered another clandestine P lab on Auckland’s North Shore, this time in the suburb of Birkdale, after neighbours reported strong chemical smells. Methamphetamine labs have been found in Birkdale before, mostly notably the one in a cul-de-sac property that was raided two years ago…

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…

Man badly burned in house explosion – Police think that while 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…