Drug dealing and fighting leaves some Northland residents living in fear of their state house neighbours

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1 NEWS

Some Northland residents say they're living in fear of their state house neighbours, claiming they're dealing drugs and fighting in the streets. 

They’re calling on Housing New Zealand to evict the troublemakers.
Source: 1 NEWS

They're calling on Housing New Zealand to evict troublemakers. But that could go against the agency's new soft approach on drug use. 

Angela Herbert and her five children live in one of the 2000 Housing New Zealand properties in Northland, and they waited months to get in. 

"When you do get one you really want to try and hold on to it as long as you can because it's hard," Ms Herbert said.

But Northland National MP Matt King says not everyone deserves them, because in the eight months he's been in office he's received 40 complaints about six different Housing New Zealand properties 

"Drug dealing, selling, vandalism, theft, assaults, violence in the street, people using weapons, general intimidation. You name it, it's going on," Mr King said. 

The more serious complaints come from Kerikeri and Dargaville. Police have attended 70 incidents in one Kerikeri property in the last three years. 

None of the complainants would appear on camera to tell their stories for fear of retaliation, and for that reason 1 NEWS decided not to identify the properties or the streets involved. 

But they did tell 1 NEWS their pets have been poisoned, they're being threatened with violence and regularly sworn at, they're too scared to do the gardening or go for walks, and they can't sleep because there are parties and fighting most nights.

Housing New Zealand has thrown out two Northland tenants in the last 12 months, but has a zero eviction policy for drug use.

Alistair Russell of Auckland Action Against Poverty says evicting people and making them and their families homeless makes nobody safer.

"The knee-jerk reaction to want to punish people has spectacularly failed time and time again," he said.

But Mr King says Housing New Zealand should set an example.

"I think a degree of Housing New Zealand tenants have to be evicted, have to be dealt with seriously so that the vast majority can see that behaviour won't be tolerated," he said. 

Meanwhile 328 other families are on the waiting list for social housing in Northland. 

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