Housing Minister Phil Twyford has hit back at hardline questions from National MP Judith Collins about today's decision by Housing New Zealand to compensate hundreds of tenants it evicted from state homes on the basis of bogus methamphetamine testing.
A report to the Minister found about 800 tenants suffered as a result of Housing New Zealand's policy of evicting tenants for using P or allowing its use in their homes.
Affected tenants are expected to receive between $2500 and $3000 in compensation.
In Parliament Ms Collins asked where meth testing showed residues exceeding standards, could this meth have gotten into the Housing New Zealand house any way other than smoking or baking the drug.
"No," Mr Twyford replied. "But there was no consistent baseline testing done in any Housing New Zealand houses over those years," he added.
"There is no way of knowing whether the hundreds of people who were made homeless under this policy had any personal responsibility for the contamination of those houses. And frankly I'm shocked that the member, who used to be a lawyer, would think that that is ok. Is this the modern compassionate face of the National Party?"
Ms Collins then asked will people who smoked meth in Housing New Zealand houses now be given two to three thousand dollars compensation.
"The point of the compensation is to compensate people who wrongly had their tenancies terminated and their possessions destroyed and in some cases made homeless. Those are the people who will receive payment under the assistance programme," Mr Twyford replied.
Ms Collins asked will people who sold meth in Housing New Zealand houses now be given the compensation.
"No," Mr Twyford replied, to shouts from National MPs of "How would you know? How would you know?"
Earlier in the exchange, Ms Collins asked was the Minister saying it's wrong to end a tenancy when someone is using the house to break the law.
"We're saying that it's wrong to make innocent people homeless on the basis of bogus science and no decent evidence of responsibility or culpability," Mr Twyford responded.
"Hundreds of people were made homeless under this policy, people that in some cases were vulnerable, people with addictions who were made homeless. The worse possible thing that you could do to someone who has an addiction is to make them homeless," he said.
Asked by Ms Collins is it acceptable for Housing New Zealand tenants to smoke methamphetamine in state houses, Mr Twyford said the Government does not condone the smoking of methamphetamine anywhere, but it is not acceptable for any government to throw tenants onto the street and make them homeless.
"We recognise that making people homeless does not solve a tenant's problems or help someone overcome addiction. It just moves the problem to somewhere else and makes it worse for the person involved, for their family, their children, the community and the taxpayer," he said.