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First National Real Estate Chief Executive Bob Brereton has hit out at Government moves to weaken drug laws, saying that the proposals are a ‘dog’s breakfast’, and a further attack on Landlords in the wake of the controversial Gluckman Report released earlier this year.
Last week the Government announced a suite of changes, including an intention to amend the ‘Misuse of Drugs’ Act to ease up on people caught with personal possession of illegal drugs. Under the changes, people caught possessing and using drugs will face lighter charges, while, on the flip side, synthetics will now be classified as class A drugs, giving the police more power to crack down on drug makers and drug dealers.
The latest changes come on top of a bombshell report released in May, which suggested that there was no risk to humans from third hand exposure to houses where methamphetamine has been consumed, and which dramatically increased the levels of meth which could be present in building structures before the house would be regarded as unsafe.
However, according to Mr Brereton, these changes are based on untested assumptions which put the health of tenants, and the property of Landlords, at risk. Mr Brereton says that the changes will simply add yet another burden to Landlords, already reeling from the changes to acceptable Meth levels announced back in May. “Back then we asked who would compensate the owners of the tens of thousands of houses which were deemed to be contaminated prior to the Gluckman announcement, and which had been remediated at the cost of many millions? Who picks up the tab for the loss of sale price, the LIM registrations, the costs of remediation, and the many Real Estate Salespeople who have inadvertently had their careers ruined through the existing levels?
“Now, as a result of these latest changes, we’re going to see even more open use of drugs in rental properties – along with all of the social consequences that this will bring. But what about the consequences? While New Zealand wallows in the mire of a raft of changes that are out of touch with the rest of the world - tenants can smoke and shoot up with impunity - out of the reach of prosecution for possession or use and out of the reach of the landlord”.