Housing NZ tenant says he was evicted over previous tenant's P use

  • 27/08/2017

A Housing New Zealand (HNZ) tenant is asking the corporation to be more open and upfront about previous drug use that has occurred on their properties.

"I don't want anyone else out there getting stood on from Housing New Zealand," Martin Koroheke told Three's The Hui.

The 51-year-old was evicted from his home in Ranui, west Auckland in December after HNZ accused his teenage son for contaminating their home.

But an Official Information Act request reveals that police raided the address in February 2007 with HNZ staff, seizing drugs and arresting someone for cultivating cannabis. That was three years before Martin Koroheke moved in.

"They recovered P pipes, paraphernalia and cannabis and said there was squatters living there," says Peter King from the Tenancy Protection Association.

Mr King has been Mr Koroheke's advocate since he was kicked out of the house.

6a Afton Pl, Ranui.
6a Afton Pl, Ranui. Photo credit: The Hui

The Hui has met a former tenant of 6a Afton Pl who moved into the house a month after the police bust. She says she found pots, syringes and tins of solvents used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. She gave what she found to her tenancy manager.

"The tenancy manager said, 'Just chuck it in the bin,' so she just grabbed it off her and just chucked it in the bin. From then on, I've wanted to push this further and further," says Mr Koroheke.

HNZ says there was no reason to suspect Mr Koroheke was using methamphetamine at the property, until Mr Koroheke himself admitted to them last year that his son Waikura and his girlfriend smoked meth at the property.

Mr Koroheke denies he admitted this to HNZ.

"I never condone my son or anyone else to come and smoke P in my house, or even come into my house with it," he says.

Mr Koroheke's 17-year-old son Waikura Koroheke was addicted to synthetic cannabis when it was legal and found it hard to kick the habit once they were banned. While he admits he's been in trouble before, he's never smoked methamphetamine.

"I've never touched it, never smoked it," Waikura says. "It's like they wanted to blame someone. My girlfriend wasn't a meth user either."

An assessment of the house showed that someone at some point, had been using meth. Seven of the eight rooms had methamphetamine levels above Ministry of Health guidelines.

"Two weeks later after the P test they gave me a 90-day eviction," says Mr Koroheke.

HNZ couldn't conclusively prove that Mr Koroheke or his family were to blame for the contamination.

It says the positive meth test is just one reason for Mr Koroheke's eviction. Its main problem with him is what they call "anti-social behaviours", including Mr Koroheke intimidating staff and not looking after the place. It also claims his dog was dangerous.

Mr Koroheke says he was frustrated with HNZ, which he says ignored his pleas to maintain the property.

While the other home on the section was being painted and maintained, NHZ wouldn't commit to any upkeep on the house, and the house fell to ruin.

"Martin's place is like a dump and the others are nice, tidy, painted, maintained, the gutters cleaned - there's no comparison," says Mr King.

6a Afton Pl is now boarded up and lies empty.

Mr Koroheke moved there in 2010 after his former home was demolished during the construction of the Waterview Tunnel.

"I love my house at Afton Pl when I was there. I treated it like my birthright, like my turangawaewae. That was my whare."

He says the stress and huge clean-up bill could have been avoided if they carried out meth tests before tenants moved in.

HNZ says it'll cost $34,000 to decontaminate and refurbish the house. That compares to around $2,000 for a good quality meth test.

The Hui