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P lab finding welcomed by Housing Minister

Hon Maryan Street
Minister for Housing

25 September 2008 Media Statement

P lab finding welcomed by Housing Minister

Housing Minister Maryan Street has welcomed a judgement ruling people who caused a state house to be demolished after turning it into a P lab are liable for damages.

“The judgement sends a strong message to people who engage in illegal activity and wilfully damage state houses – and that is that it’s not worth their while because Housing New Zealand won’t tolerate it,” Maryan Street said.

“Housing New Zealand this week took a test case in the Napier District Court seeking $185,000 in damages from six people convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in a state house.”

The house was so badly contaminated, it had to be destroyed. Because the cost was so significant, it was beyond the jurisdiction of the Tenancy Tribunal and Housing New Zealand pursued costs through the District Court. It sought damages from all those convicted of manufacturing the drug on the property, not just the tenant.

Three of the defendants have been found liable for the full costs. A decision on whether the remaining three should also share liability is yet to be released – as has the final judgement, which will determine the extent of legal precedent set by the case.

“This is a good start as it enables Housing New Zealand to try to recover taxpayers’ money in this instance. It sends a clear signal about the tough line Housing New Zealand will take in the future,” Maryan Street said.


ENDS

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