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New meth contamination and testing standard

New Zealanders will be able to better manage the risks of methamphetamine in residential properties following the release of a new standard, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean say.

“The new standard is a huge step forward in helping home owners and tenants deal with the risks of methamphetamine contamination. It will give people greater confidence and certainty, will result in hundreds fewer properties having to be vacated and save millions in unnecessary decontamination work,” Dr Smith says.

“The major gain from the new standard is having clear methods for sampling and testing, and competency requirements for samplers and decontamination contractors. The most significant change is the new 1.5μg/100cm2 limit, as compared to 0.5μg/100cm2 under the old guidelines. These were focussed solely on the risks of a clan lab, whereas the new standard results from a better understanding of the health risks.

“This new standard will form an important part of new legislation I introduced to Parliament last month. The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2) gives landlords the right to test for meth and enables tenancy agreements to be terminated when levels are unsafe. The new standard will be referenced in the regulations and will become legally enforceable when the Bill is passed later this year.”

“It is quite appropriate that this new standard has been funded from the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009. The damage done to residential properties is just a fraction of the social and economic harm methamphetamine is doing in New Zealand. These new contamination standards and residential law change are a small part of the Government’s anti-drug initiatives.”

“These new standards are an important new addition to consumer protections. They will help clean up an industry that has had problems over inconsistent tests and excessive decontamination costs,” Ms Dean says.

“Standards New Zealand follows a robust process in developing all standards, in line with the Standards and Accreditation Act 2015. Twenty-one committee members from the public and private sector contributed to the development of the standard, by offering expertise on the methods and logistics of testing and decontamination of affected properties.

“I’m pleased to see the work put into the development of the standard has resulted in a strong piece of guidance.”

See the new standard, NZS8510:2017 Testing and decontamination of methamphetamine contaminated properties, here: https://www.standards.govt.nz/sponsored-standards/testing-and-decontamination-of-methamphetamine-contaminated-properties

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