Meth house madness trashed people’s lives

The impact of the meth house scam on some people has been awful.

Stuff – Meth house myth: Why hundreds of safe homes were left empty in middle of a housing crisis

Rosemary Rudolph was in her late 80s when the Government told her she was going to die.

It wasn’t cancer, old age, or anything her doctor said at all. It came from a Housing New Zealand (HNZ) staffer, who said the place Rudolph called home for more than 60 years was poisoning her – she had to move out quick.

“They said I would die if I stayed there. I’ll tell you what, I’ve been dying ever since – I’m a shadow of what I once was,” Rudolph said.

One of Rudolph’s 16 grandchildren had smoked some methamphetamine on the property and HNZ had caught wind of this, she said, admitting she was “pretty naive”.

HNZ demanded the 87-year-old leave the property in Avondale, Auckland, so that it could be tested. They were also worried after her house had been fired upon by a suspected gang attacker. The tests came back positive – and that was it. She was out, moved to a far smaller unit right by a busy road.

“They said you have to move out, and because it’s not your fault, we’ll give you a little place somewhere.”

“I wasn’t allowed to bring my blankets or anything. I just walked out in the clothes that I had. The few that I had had to be washed three times … My possessions were taken away from me. People came off the street and ransacked the place.”

Rudolph said HNZ charged her $3000 for the testing. An HNZ spokesperson said the agency is “currently reviewing any costs associated with this matter”.

Not only was she kicked out, she was billed $3000 for meth testing!

That whole Stuff article is very good coverage of the scam.

RNZ: Man still repaying debt from unnecessary HNZ meth eviction

A man who received an apology from the housing minister for being evicted from his state house is still being forced to pay back the government for emergency accommodation.

Robert Eruiti was evicted from his Housing New Zealand (HNZ) home after testing for methamphetamine on surfaces in eight rooms revealed he was 0.09 over the 0.5 limit using a scientific method that has been since discredited.

Although it was not believed he was responsible for the contamination, because his name was on the tenancy agreement he was evicted.

His daughter Casey McCarry told Checkpoint her father was still being forced to pay back some of the $44,000 it cost to house him for over a year in emergency accommodation.

“We also believe that should be waived, that he should not have to pay that money,” she said.

“It still feels like yesterday my dad was evicted because it was such a stressful process for myself and my family.

“I’m very angry and disappointed.”

A lot of his furniture and belongings had to be thrown away as there was nowhere to store them.

There’s still a lot of questions to be answered and financial damaged repaired on this issue.

Also from RNZ: Housing NZ chair refuses to step down after meth revelations

Housing New Zealand’s (HNZ) chair Adrienne Young Cooper would not be interviewed but said she will not resign.

HNZ chief executive Andrew McKenzie also again refused to be interviewed.

A report this week from Sir Peter Gluckman found no real health risk to humans from living in a house where meth had previously only been smoked.

That meant hundreds of tenants were wrongly booted out of state houses and millions of dollars wasted on clean-ups.

Sir Peter said there had been an inexplicable leap in logic resulting in clean-up standards for meth labs being used as a measure for passive exposure.

It’s hard to understand how this ever happened.

It’s well known that methamphetamine is an insidious and widely used drug.

But what is the risk to second hand use? Like, getting a whiff when someone else is using it? I haven’t heard of any.

But the meth house scam was based on what is referred to as third hand use – the slight possibility someone will be exposed to traces of meth weeks or months after it was used. Even if there is exposure there has been no reports of any  adverse effects.

Farrar’s honeymoon poll bounce scam

A very detailed analysis by   of how claims of a failure to benefit from a ‘poll bounce’ after the after the election was bad for Labour amounts to a dishonest scam by David Farrar in collaboration with Bill English. And how much of the media and blogosphere got sucked in by the meme put out by Farrar (not me though that didn’t rate a mention).

It’s a long post that has some interesting information about polls both recent and historical, making both reasonable and  questionable points.

Sub-Zero Politics: Farrar’s Honeymoon Scam

Introduction

Over recent weeks, National Party agent provocateur David Farrar has managed to profoundly shape mainstream media analysis of the Post-Election Mood.

In two highly influential Kiwiblog posts, Farrar set out to aggressively heighten expectations of the new Ardern Labour Government’s impending Poll performance (What sort of poll boost should the new Government get? November 6, 2017 – published some 2 weeks before the very first poll was released) and then subsequently went out of his way to ignore the first two Post-Election polls,  instead waiting 5 weeks for the third poll to emerge, before declaring that Labour had conspicuously failed to live up to expectations (No real bounce for Labour in first Colmar Brunton poll December 10, 2017).

  1. Incoming governments traditionally enjoy a huge Honeymoon surge of post-Election support.
  2. This massive Post-Election Poll Bounce comes largely or entirely at the expense of the Opposition Bloc and in particular the Major Opposition Party.
  3. Such a Poll Bounce failed to materialise in the immediate aftermath of the formation of  the 2017 Labour-NZ First-Green Government .
  4. This failure is unprecedented in Modern Political History
  5. The reasons for this alleged failure are two-fold: (a) In 2017, “there was no clear vote for change as happened in 1999 and 2008” and (b) Labour “have had a pretty shambolic start to Government” (Dec 10 post).
  6. None of this augurs well for the survival /  longevity / future electoral prospects of the Ardern Govt.

Media UpTake

As so often over recent years, Farrar’s carefully-contrived narrative quickly gained wide currency among MSM Notables. Despite the central involvement of both Farrar and segments of the Fourth Estate in the murky 2014 Dirty Politics scandal, journalists still seem more than happy to take his claims at face value and to widely disseminate them throughout the media.

I didn’t take much notice of the honeymoon non-bounce theory because every post-election period is quite different, and the 2017 pre-election and post-election certainly was, and it takes time for Governments to settle in and for enough poll results to be done to give an idea of trends. I think it will be several months before polls give us a good picture of party support trends.

Swordfish claims (without evidence) that the ‘scam’ was a Farrar/National Party plot:

Obviously, Farrar had closely co-ordinated this whole strategic campaign with Bill English’s Office.

That isn’t obvious. English could simply have picked up on what Farrar had posted and the media had reported. Swordfish could have used the same reasoning to claim that ‘Farrar had closely co-ordinated this whole strategic campaign with journalists and bloggers’.

I’ll skip the detail and go to the start of a lengthy conclusion.

Conclusion

Prominent National Party operative David Farrar has very successfully managed to sell the MSM a bogus honeymoon meme. This, in turn, has generated a whole series of negative headlines for the Ardern Coalition … reinforcing, in the process, some of National’s key attack lines around the alleged fragility and illegitimacy of the new Government.

It’d probably be going a little too far, I think, to suggest that a Machiavellian Farrar brought to bear all the innumerable dark arts of messaging, comms, social psychology and public relations when devising his various rhetorical strategies. That would be crediting his two Kiwiblog posts with a degree of sophistication that they don’t, quite frankly, possess. But in his own relatively crude way, he was able to successfully weave a dodgy little tale of woe for the Govt using his trademark blend of fact and fiction, as always playing on the ambiguity that lies between.

The nub of Farrar’s Honeymoon Scam is this: Both explicitly (Nov 6) and implicitly (Dec 10), Farrar left visiting journalists with the distinct impression that the two previous incoming governments – 1999 Clark Labour and 2008 Key National – had enjoyed massive double figure spikes of support in the very first post-Election Poll. At a bare minimum, journalists went away from Kiwiblog with the impression that these honeymoon surges emerged in the immediate wake of these elections – that is, the first few weeks.

Yet, as we’ve seen, Farrar’s claims were essentially fraudulent.

I don’t have the time or inclination to carefully check Swordfish’s claims against Farrar’s – it’s only polls, and the Government is setting off into the political year as if the polls didn’t matter anyway.

But here are more detailed poll trends of each oh the post election periods being analysed, in easier to follow pictures – the starting point for each chart is the election result.

Post-1999 election polling:

Not many polls and not much sign of a bounce there.

Post-2008 election polling:

No immediate bounce, it wasn’t until a number of polls in 2009 before the trend of poll support for national became obvious.

Post-2017 election polling:

Too few polls and too soon to tell, in very different circumstances.

Take from this what you like, but remember that they are only polls. They are of interest but can be easily over-analysed and are often misleadingly reported by media and by bloggers and by parties.

Not a Chinese sounding name

This email arrived overnight:

Hello

My Dear, How are you doing? I need your help to buy Houses / Factory
in your country, I want to invest my money in Production Industry in
your country. Dr. Henry Desmond.

Sounds more like a Nigerian name to me. This is a new (to me) and topical attempt at what presumably is an attempted scam.

Another online scam

There seems to regularly be stories about online scams, and a number of these seem to be playing on relationships and ‘love’. Preying on the vulnerable and the gullible is dirty but some people don’t care about the personal damage the do.

There has been two high profile New Zealand drug mule cases. There are often stories off lesser scams, but they can still have a devastating impact, financially and emotionally, on the victims.

In this week’s local community newspaper (The Star) there’s an Online scam warning for women (not easily accessible online).

A woman started communicating with an American on Facebook.

“Within a day he said that he loved me and could see a future with me”.

That carried on for two weeks before he told her he had sent her a parcel with valuable gifts in it, and gave her the track and trace number.

She then received emails from a courier company in Malaysia asking for $2,500 in tax.

She got out a loan and paid the $2,500.

The courier company emailed again saying she would have to pay $15,000 for insurance – so she called the man who told her there was $600,000, a diamond ring, a watch, some jewellery and an iPhone 6.

“He said please, please, please and I’m the type who will do anything for anyone so I went to the bank to get another loan”.

This time the lady at the bank got her to go to the police, but nothing could be done about the $2,500 as it had left the country.

It’s mind boggling how gullible some people are.

It ‘only’ cost this woman $2,500 before someone helped her out of the scam.

A more elaborate scam could have cost Anthony Melmanche his life. He is serving a 15 year prison sentence in Bali.

Can gullible people be helped from their stupidity? Should they be?

Nats slam Sky City scam

While NZ Herald reports that Key warm on taxpayer funds for convention centre the reaction has been much colder.

A deal agreed in July 2013 was for SkyCity to spend $402 million on a convention centre based on artists’ impressions.

Late last year, the casino announced that increased construction costs and “design improvements” had seen the bill blow out to up to $530 million, and taxpayer help was needed.

At the very least a business case that far out of whack should raise alarm bells. Being funded by Taxpayers after the whole deal was based on a promise of no cost seems ludicrous, but that seems to be ther Governments intention.

However, Mr Key signalled a preference for at least some public money to be used on SkyCity’s new, more-costly plan.

Mr Key yesterday expressed doubts over the wisdom of insisting the casino sticks to an initial plan to spend $402 million to build and operate the convention centre, saying he would “hate to see some sort of eye-sore constructed downtown”.

Has Key not noticed what downtown Auckland already looks like? Another eye-sore  wouldn’t look out of place.

It isn’t suprising that the left strongly opposes the Taxopayers propping up what was supposed to be an agreement with Sky City’s proposed convention centre and expanded gambling business.

But the response from National’s support base has been just as chilly.

Nat cheerleader David Farrar posted Better a free eyesore than a taxpayer funded colliseum.

If the extra money will improve the construction so that more groups will want to use the convention centre, then that is a commercial decision for Sky City. It is not an issue for the taxpayer.

There are two acceptable choices for me.

  1. Sky City builds it with no taxpayer subsidy
  2. Sky City doesn’t build it

Comments from right and further right in comments are more scathing. Manolo:

If John Key gives up and agrees to a subsidy it will become his and the National Party’s Waterloo.

Likes 36, dislikes 1

Souvlaki:

Yep…I’m a National supporter.They will lose my support …along with thousands of others ! Key does this as reported and its the same as Abbott ” Knighting ” the Duke of Edinburgh ! Stupidity beyond belief !!

Likes 23, dislikes 1

Alwyn:

I think that, if the Government go ahead and put up money for this scheme it could be their downfall.
That would require that Little stop worrying about exactly which day Key knew about Sabin’s actions and that he stop giving National free hits by ruminatiin on Maori having different rights to other New Zealanders.
Little should concentrate on this matter. If National put up the money he can hammer it for the next couple of years, and if they don’t he can claim that they were going to but that he forced them to back off.
Personally I think this is one item that will resonate with the New Zealand public.

Likes 22, dislikes 1

It should be noted that likes/dislikes are indicative but not quantatative, most readers don’t tick.

Interesting that while Cameron Slater posted THE GREAT SKY CITY TAX PAYER ROBBERY, COMING TO A TROUGH NEAR YOU he seems to be quiet on it now.

And comments here yesterday should be a chilling warning to Key and Steven Joyce, who seem to be putting political face saving ahead of business prudence – except if the proceed with a handout to a gambling company they are likely to be slapped in the face, politically.

Maureen:

The Flag, Skycity and Sabin continuing to sit as Chair of the Select Committee are three reasons I won’t be renewing my NP membership just now.

Sponge (also posted at Kiwiblog):

I can see the argument for the Govt chipping in (I can see the reasoning but think it is a shit argument) but from the perspective of giving the opposition a stick to beat you with this is staggeringly stupid. The Nats are now in a no win and no way out situation about SkyCity.

I got an email from National today asking me to renew my membership. They will be getting a shitty response and no money in return. John Key really seems to have developed a cloth ear in the last few months. He needs to get his shit together and pronto. Think of what the government could have been like if JK had not won – that is what we will be facing if they don’t get their fucking act sorted.

Maureen:

I wrote back to the National Party advising why I’m reserving my options. The flag is just a sideshow, taxpayers/ratepayers funding the casino is intellectually insulting, and leaving Mr Sabin in such a position while under a serious investigation – stinks of corruption. Not happy.

Goldie:

I find it hard to see the Government giving money to Sky City.

National are a minority party – they still depend on either Maori Party, Peter Dunne, or Act to pass supply bills. If any of those three passed an appropriation for SkyCity, they’d be flayed alive by their supporters.

And their own backbench are likely to become pretty restless over this. While ring-in opinion polls on Campbell Live are unreliable, a 97% NO result is still pretty decisive on public opinion on the matter.

If Key and Joyce try to prop up a smelly deal with Taxpayer money it’s likely to be a major nail in what’s already a term of arrogance that may become their political coffin.