A methamphetamine testing company that sampled over 1000 residential properties has discovered around 40 percent of them had traces of the Class A drug.
The company behind the testing is MethSolutions, and director Miles Stratford told 3 News the results varied from low-level meth use to high-end meth manufacturing.
"We're just scratching the surface," he says.
"If it's from a land lording perspective, [the results] would likely put them in breach of their health and safety obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act."
Mr Stratford says landlords across the country – but predominantly around Auckland – are opting to combat meth with a piece of "Kiwi ingenuity" called the MethMinder.
The device is designed to detect the chemicals associated with meth use and manufacturing. It is powered by long-life batteries and will discretely contact a control room if chemicals are detected or if it has been interfered with. The monitoring team will then notify a nominated contact.
"Some of [the detected chemicals] do have legitimate uses in the property," says Mr Stratford.
"Some of the instances that we've found are people using industrial cleaner inside of properties. We've had instances where there have been low-grade plastics fires that have produced a whole bunch of volatile gases into the air that have been picked up."
While Mr Stratford could not specify the amount of MethMinders in action, he says demand is increasing.
"From a landlord's perspective you can achieve a reduction of risk. You're also really managing the risk proactively and the good quality tenants want to rent those places because they know they're safe for them to move their families into."
The New Zealand Drug Detection Association (NZDDA) website says the highest number of clan labs discovered in New Zealand was in 2006, when 211 were busted.
"Since 2006, the discovery rate has declined due to a variety of reasons but this has not seen a decline in the use of methamphetamine."
Mary Taylor owns a Ray White franchised property management business in Auckland that looks after around 750 properties.
Ms Taylor says she has not had many problems with meth at the properties her business manages.
"It doesn't seem to be a big risk, but having said that I could turn around and have one [meth lab] tomorrow, couldn't I?"
She is aware of the MethMinder and admits it is a good idea, but has not chosen to introduce it to landlords yet.
"I don't know if I would insist on it, it's their call because it's an added cost."
Mr Stratford says for most people, the MethMinder costs $39.95 per month or they have the option of paying an annual lump sum.
For further information on how to identify if a house is potentially being used as a P-lab, visit the NZDDA website.
source: newshub archive