Paula Bennett should apologise for meth testing debacle - Marama Davidson

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson is calling on former Social Development Minister Paula Bennett to apologise for "exploiting shoddy meth standards".

For years, state houses where meth use has been suspected have been decontaminated to a standard now deemed vastly too conservative.

In three years, 1338 state homes were decontaminated, according to figures released by Housing NZ. That means tenants were needlessly uprooted and state houses left empty while Government money was spent cleaning houses that were safe to live in.

The Minister of Housing Phil Twyford has apologised on behalf of the previous government, and announced a "comprehensive review" of the saga.

Ms Davidson says Ms Bennett must apologise to the people harmed.

"Even before the science report, we knew that the regulations and the levels were shoddy," Ms Davidson told Newshub.

"We knew people were being unnecessarily evicted and harmed. How many children changed schools? How many families were moved out of the community?

"Absolutely, Paula Bennett not [only] just went along with the regulation but actually whipped up frenzy and dehumanised these tenants."

Ms Davidson did not go as far as to say those whose tenancies were ended should be compensated.

"I'm happy to leave working out those details with the Minster.

"There is no doubt we should make effort to at the very least make sure those people who were wrongly evicted... are prioritised to be put into stable living conditions."

On Tuesday, Ms Bennett told Newshub she had wanted the levels raised and said she, along with former Prime Minister Bill English, asked a "whole lot of questions" of Housing NZ's chief executive and the board.

"They said it was the only test level they had. We still had many questions. We had Standards NZ to set up an independent panel to go and review what the testing level should be.

"To be honest, I fought back pretty hard and was at time told it was inappropriate to be trying to direct Housing NZ," Ms Bennett told Newshub.

Ms Bennett said even the group set up to formulate the revised standard couldn't agree.

That group was made up of a panel of 21 "experts", including people from the meth sampling and testing industry, the decontamination industry, those with property investment and property management interests, the insurance sector, local authorities, central and local government - and the Ministry of Health and "laboratories."

The panel was criticised at the time for including industries with skin in the game.

That group came up with the 1.5 standard, which has now been dwarfed by the standard's increase to 15 micrograms. Even the new limit is conservative - Sir Peter Gluckman said he'd be comfortable with a toddler crawling around licking surfaces with 100 micrograms of methamphetamine present across 100cm2.

Ms Davidson says Ms Bennett should have ordered a proper scientific report similar to the one released by Sir Peter on Tuesday.

"All she needed to do was order a full scientific report and get some information.

"If she had concerns, then why did she proactively go into the media and continue to whip up frenzy about people being evicted from homes?"

National's Housing spokesperson Judith Collins told The AM Show on Friday morning it's Housing NZ that needs to explain itself.

"Housing NZ needs to front up, because they have refused to front up to media, and their minister Phil Twyford - he's not making them front up. Let's just find out what they knew."