MethLab Blog Archive 2011

What is the reality of Meth Labs in Motels?

It was good to see TV3 do a story on main news story on the weekend’s meth lab fire in a Auckland motel.  The Ranfurly Evergreen Motel on Auckland’s Manukau Road, suffered a fire that turned out to have been caused by a meth lab explosion.

‘Filthy criminals.  Serves them right!” we might say.  But what is the reality of Meth Labs in Hotels? What does it mean to ordinary Kiwis?

If you take a look at the news footage, you will hear contrasting views.

Victor Boyd, who runs a specialist decontamination and cleaning firm Contaminated Site Solutions, says 1 in 10 of the properties his firm decontaminates is a motel.  And not all of the sites Contaminated Site Solutions treats have been reported to the authorities by their owners.  Indeed, many owners have no idea this dangerous activity has taken place.

The Motel Association on the other hand, do not see this as being a big issue as moteliers are trained to ’see the warning signs’. Most moteliers I have spoken to are as trusting of people and ignorant of the risks relating to meth as the average New Zealander.  The trouble is that they, their assets and the health of their employees is at risk.

Perhaps this is why two motels on the same road in Auckland, the Ranfurly Evergreen and the Jacaranda Motel have  officially been found to have meth labs operating in them.  How many have not been found?  How widely is this experience spread across other motels?

We would argue that the practice of using a motel/hotel room, holiday park, holiday home or rental property continues to be high.  Simply because labs are not busted does not mean they do not happen!  Regardless of whether it is people making meth for recreational purposes or people doing it on a more commercial scale, labs still produce toxic chemicals that contaminate property and effect the lives of innocent Kiwis.  They have a detrimental impact on people’s health and hotel and motel operators need to do more in order to ensure our safety.

Our meth problem may be attracting less interest from the press, but it is not going away.  We continue to top the global meth usagerates,despite ‘experts’ being quoted in the media saying that meth has ‘had its day’.

Good on TV3 for doing its bit to raise awareness.  Let us hope that the motel/hotel industry starts d0ing its bit!

Contact us to find out more on 0800 638 464


HOBANZ Raises Awareness of Meth Lab Risk

HOBANZ (Home Owners and Buyers Association of New Zealand) was set up to help people through the mess created by New Zealand’s ‘Leaky Building’ issue.  the lack of advocacy for individual homes owners, meant many people engaged in ‘David and Goliath’ battles and too many lost.

The parallels between buildings with weather tightness issues and meth lab contamination have been written about before in this Blog.  It is great to now see that an independent organisation like HOBANZ recognises the significance of the meth lab issue by providing its members with quality information.

HOBANZ is doing a power of work to ensure that New Zealanders should live in war, dry, safe and healthy homes in communities that care. We wholeheartedly support them in their efforts!

Contact us to find out more on 0800 638 464


The Long Term Meth Effect

Many users of illicit drugs, particularly meth, justify their behaviour with the lines ‘Its not hurting anybody else.  I can do what I like with my body’.  And in holding this opinion, they are supported in their choice by many non-drug users who support the rights of the individual to choose, over the rights of society to be protected from their actions.

Over the years, there have been many articles in the media talking about the number of children found living in meth labs.  In 2010 over 400 kids were found in the meth labs busted by Police.  These meth lab busts, represent just 5 to 10% of the total.  The long term health effects of meth usage are only now beginning to be understood.  What we know, is that it profoundly affects the central nervous system.

This article from the Sunday Star Times, reinforces this by looking at the effects of meth on the development of children born to meth using mothers.  The article talks about the effects of meth on the central nervous system of these children and how this is compromising their learning ability.  What this suggests, is that we can expect these poor kids and those who grow up in meth labs, to have ongoing health issues.  We can also expect their learning difficulties to have an influence on the education sector.

Meth users who justify their criminal activity with ‘it isn’t hurting anybody else’, who are you kidding?

Property investors can take steps to protect their property from meth criminals by working with MethMinder.  Not only will your asset be protected, you will also be doing your bit to help protect children who are the innocent victims of this disgusting behaviour.

Contact us to find out more on 0800 638 464


Spot the Druggy!

Many people believe they have a sixth sense for spotting drug users and people involved in the drug trade.  Others still, believe that the drug scene is restricted to Housing New Zealand Properties in South Auckland.

This article from today’s Herald should make people pause to think.  It relates to the recent ‘Ecstasy’ busts.  Among the people arrested are millionaire business people, painters and Police prosecutors!  No doubt, many people who know these people are stunned by this turn of events.

These people are living all over Auckland and once again, we see Remuera properties being raided.

Something worth bearing in mind, and there are hints of it in this article with one person being on meth supply charges, is that in Australia, there is very little MDMA going into Ecstasy pills.  In many instances, the active ingredient of what is being sold as Ecstasy, is in fact methamphetamine.

Do you know what your ‘upstanding’ tenant up to right now?

Contact us to find out more on 0800 638 464


Housing Corporation of New Zealand – a Shining Light of Best Practice Property Management?

A recent article in the Herald provided details on the number of meth lab contaminated properties Housing Corporation of New Zealand (HCNZ) has on its books.  In summary, the figures provided in a response to an Official Information Act request from the media, therefore they must be valid, identify that between 2006 and 2010, just 26 properties were affected by Methlabs.  Across the 70 odd thousand properties HCNZ manage, this is a truly stellar performance!

When the numbers presented in this article are explored in the context of the bigger math lab risk picture they tell us that an HCNZ property is 2 to 3 times less likely to have a meth lab operate in it than the average rental property. In summary:

  • 2006 to 2010 meth labs busted by Police 799
  • 2006 65% found in rental property
  • 2009 75% found in rental property
  • Ball Park 560 meth labs busted by Police in rental property
  • Estimates of rental property numbers in NZ 500-700,000.
  • HCNZ share of the rental market – 10 to 15%
  • Assuming meth labs are spread evenly through the rental sector, expected HCNZ share of the meth labs  - 56 to 84
  • Meth labs declared by HCNZ – 26

In conversations MethMinder has had with HCNZ representatives, we have been told that meth labs do not present a big risk.  These numbers appear to support it.  Apparently systems and processes are in place to ensure the likelihood of meth labs is reduced.  This includes education of local communities such that labs are actively rejected and reported.

In a related article, David Whitburn of the Auckland Property Investors Association called for meth monitors to be installed in all State houses. This may be a reflection of perceptions many have that the demographic of HCNZ tenants means that HCNZ properties are at greater risk than average. However, given the stats HCNZ has supplied to the media, it seems that HCNZ is in fact  a shining light of best practice property management.  They are in fact significantly lower risk than average.  They also tell us, that HCNZ is able to decontaminate a property at a fraction of the cost of a private citizen.

Surely this is something to be celebrated?  Cannot the lessons learned by HCNZ be shared with the wider community, particularly owners of investment property, such that the broader societal response to meth is stiffened and made more effective?

The fact that these ’successes’ are not be heralded suggests that the HCNZ picture may not be quite as rosey.  MethMinder has seen HCNZ as a natural partner to build a concerted housing sector response to NZ’s meth lab scourge.  Consequently, we have tried many different routes of engagement.  Some of the key things we have heard from different people along the way are:

  • In one discussion, a senior person in the maintenance section identified just 5 meth affected properties in 5 years (the same 5 year period that official advice now indicates had 26 affected properties). These low numbers meaning the installation of meth sensors was unwarranted
  • In a separate discussion with a senior member of the security team, MethMinder representatives were advised that the Police records contained more meth labs in HCNZ properties than those of HCNZ

What do these figures tell us?

Quite simply, that HCNZ statistics are all over the place.  I have no doubt HCNZ are putting in a lot of work in this area.  That many HCNZ staff are seriously concerned about this risk and doing their very best to tackle this issue.  I also have no doubt, that the officially released figures do not accurately reflect the reality of meth in HCNZ properties.

What does this lack of transparency do?

  • At an election time, unless somebody can be bothered tackling the accuracy of these figures, it takes the heat off a Housing Minister who while in opposition criticised the incumbents for having 11 meth labs in State Houses, yet in the equivalent time frame 12 have been busted.
  • More importantly, it gives confidence to the thousands of private property owners who entrust HCNZ to look after their assets - how well founded is this confidence?

NZ’s meth crisis is not going away.  It continues to be a problem in the cities and it is increasingly spreading to a rural communities.  We can help you protect your assets!

Do you know your tenant is not cooking meth right now?  Our clients do!

Contact us to find out more on 0800 638 464


How will the bank treat your meth lab home?

One of the reasons that MethMinder encourages people to proactively manage meth lab risk in their rental property, is because of the potential of the banks to require an adjustment to the mortgage terms and conditions.  Why?  Well ask yourself, would you pay the same amount of money for a property that had been used as a meth lab as one which had not?

How much less will vary from situation to situation.  We recently heard of a property being sold in Otahuhu that had been used as a meth lab.  Hats off to the real estate agent, they were up front about its history.  How often does this happen?  From the owners perspective, the advice we received was the property had been on the market for the best part of a year and finally sold for 30% less than the market might otherwise suggest it was worth.

What does that mean for the bank?

One thing we do know, is that Councils are increasingly wary about liability that may attach to them.  Consequently, it is likely that the meth contamination history of a property will figure in the way it values a property.

A recent report by Anne Gibson of the Herald, shows how the banks are responding to reduced valuations based on ‘leaky’ buildings.  Meth lab contamination is the next ‘leaky’ building debacle.

With MethMinder, you can protect your interests and reduce risk.   Contact us to find out more on 0800 638 464


Rural Communities and meth – Does ‘Heartland’ New Zealand have a ‘P’ Problem?

The economic engine room of New Zealand is considered to be our primary produce.  Record dairy pay outs and solid prices for livestock mean many farmers are now more cashed up than they have been in years.  Meth criminals are known to target people with cash.

So, how much of a problem is meth in the rural communities?

The ‘big city’ papers rarely seem to bother about such things.  However, do a search through websites like ‘Stuff’ for methamphetamine and you will find many stories of meth labs and meth usage.  Put these separate tales of woe together and you begin to see mounting evidence of the ‘meth effect’ in our rural communities.

Take Taranaki for instance.  Good solid types down there.  Yet a farmer with apparently everything going for them, has been kicked off the family farm.  Another couple, have been wielding shot guns on the streets of New Plymouth while growing dope and being in posession of meth manufacturing equipment back on the farm.

The same sorts of stories are repeated around the country. From Northland right through to Southland, people are making the choice to start using the meth that is increasingly being made locally. All too often, Kiwis being Kiwis we don’t like to say anything.  We would hate to get somebody in bother with the law. Well, what these stories tell you is that people will get into trouble at some stage.  When this happens, they will have smoked away millions!

Something we need to be well aware of is that if this continues to develop unchecked, then there may well be a knock on effect on the reputation of our primary produce sector.  There will certainly be an effect on our rural environment.

Are we really content to sit back and let this happen?

Contact us to find out more about how you can protect your property assets 0800 638 464


What does a meth cook do while on home detention?

A recent Court Judgement sentenced a person involve in the manufacture of meth to 9 months home detention.  They are living somewhere in Henderson.  Hopefully the person concerned has seen the error of their ways and will take their punishment and move on in life.  Yet hang on a minute.

  • Aren’t we told that once you are hooked into meth you have very little chance of breaking away?
  • What does this mean for somebody who has been involved in manufacturing meth?
  • If they carry on cooking, what does this mean for the property owner?
  • Have the Courts contacted the property owner to confirm that they are happy for a convicted meth cook to be living there?

MethMinder can protect the property and help keep a person on the straight and narrow.

Contact us to find out more on 0800 638 464


NZ Holiday Homes and meth labs

It seems that the fact Police can confirm a “crime syndicate, with gang links, rented top end holiday accommodation, motels and bachs to make P” only remains news in Northland.  Yet, where do the majority of people who own those holiday homes live?

Do owners of other baches and holiday homes elsewhere in the country, believe the problem is restricted to Northland?  Who honestly believes that this is the only gang using this type of accommodation for meth manufacture?

By choosing to ignore the issue and holding fast to the believe that ‘it will never happen to me’ and relying on property management systems that, time and again have proven to be fallible, not only do we expose ourselves to risk, we also run the risk of allowing the things that make NZ great to be eroded by those people who will do literally anything to get the dollars they need to satisfy their psychological need for meth.

Contact us to find out how you can protect your assets on 0800 638 464.


The Kiwi Bach – a great place to cook meth!

In the last week, we have seen media reports of holiday accommodation and baches being used as places to cook meth.

The fact of meth labs locating in holiday homes and baches is not new.
The first meth labs were found in NZ around 15 years ago.
A meth cook, looks for a place with water, electricity and a reasonable level of privacy.
What better place than a bach?
One former meth cook has commented that the practice has been going on for at least a decade.
That we don’t read more about it in the press, is testament to the fact that it is typically hard for the Police to bust permanently located meth labs let alone those which move around.
It is for similar reasons that we rarely see media about meth labs in hotels and motels.
Yet it happens all the time.
How can I be so sure?
Some forensic scientists are doing testing of holiday park and motel accommodation around the country.
Around 60% of properties in the North Island and 40% in the South Island are testing positive for meth contamination.
Hopefully they will publish a formal paper on the subject in the near future.
The vetting of tenants you do is an essential step.
It gives you the chance to weed out the most obvious.
All I would say, is that through the work I do, I meet many people whose partners and family members use meth and they have no idea until something catastrophic happens.
This is where MethMinder comes in.
A little over 3 years ago, a friend of a friend rented out their holiday home in Wanaka.
Like most people, the idea was to get some income to defray the cost of owning their ‘slice of heaven’.
It cost them $35,000!
Some Kiwi ingenuity, conceived, designed and built MethMinder and now properties across the country, from Invercargill North, are protected from meth lab risk.
The owners of these properties openly advertise the fact that they have taken steps to protect their property.
In this way, prospective meth cooks have a choice of renting the property where their activity will be detected or the one down the road where they won’t.
The only limitation on MethMinder, is access to the Vodafone network.
All we need is enough signal strength to send a text.
I am very happy to discuss your specific circumstances Andrew and there is a free phone number below you can use.

The fact of meth labs locating in holiday homes and baches is not new.  The first meth labs were found in NZ around 15 years ago. 70% of the meth consumed here is made here and a meth cook, looks for a place with water, electricity and a reasonable level of privacy.

What better place than a bach?

One former meth cook has commented that the practice has been going on for at least a decade.

That we don’t read more about it in the press, is testament to the fact that it is typically hard for the Police to bust permanently located meth labs let alone those which move around.  It is for similar reasons that we rarely see media about meth labs in hotels and motels.

Yet it happens all the time.  How can we be so sure?

Some forensic scientists are doing testing of holiday park and motel accommodation around the country.  Around 60% of properties in the North Island and 40% in the South Island are testing positive for meth contamination.  Hopefully they will publish a formal paper on the subject in the near future.

Holiday Parks and Motels are properties where the operators are present on site and typically in close proximity to the properties. Yet they still get contaminated.  Yes, vetting of patrons is an essential step.  Having somebody meet your patron may put off some prospective meth cooks.  But what experience do you have of meth?

  • Are you aware that the dominant profile of a meth cook is a late 30’s to early 40’s European male with a partner and kids?
  • Were you aware that in the meth labs Police found last year (approximately 5 to 10% of the number operating around New Zealand) over 400 kids were found? Do the numbers and you will see 4 to 8,000 kids are being exposed to the poisons associated with meth being cooked.
  • Many times this are being exposed to meth, through the usage of their parents.
  • What does this tell you about the chemically altered nature of people involved with meth?
  • How much of a damn do meth criminals give about the fact that your precious ’slice of heaven’ that holds countless family memories will be trashed by their actions?
  • Sure, you can trust your instincts, but how are you going to pick a rogue patron when there are thousands of people around the country who have no idea that their partners and family members are involved with meth?

This is where MethMinder comes in.

A little over 3 years ago, a friend of a friend rented out their holiday home in Wanaka.  Like most people, the idea was to get some income to defray the cost of owning a second home.

It cost them $35,000!

Some Kiwi ingenuity, conceived, designed and built MethMinder and now properties across the country, from Invercargill North, are protected from meth lab risk.  The owners of these properties openly advertise the fact that they have taken steps to protect their property.  In this way, prospective meth cooks have a choice of renting the property where their activity will be detected or the one down the road where they won’t.

For the owner of a property protected by MethMinder, they have the peace of mind to know their property is protected.  This means, that you can go on holiday confident that neither you, your kids, family members or friends will become sick as a consequence of meth lab poisoning.  You will have the confidence to know that you won’t be picking up a $15 to 50,000 bill (it can easily be higher but this is a typical range) for getting your bach back into a habitable state.

How much is this confidence worth?

The only limitation on MethMinder, is access to the Vodafone network.  Even then, all we need is enough signal strength to send a text. Check here for coverage where your bach is located.

With an installer network around the country, the steps needed to get protected are easy.  Call us on 0800 638464 to find out how or visit our website www.methminder.co.nz

You can also find out more how to get protected by sending a request for more information to info@methminder.co.nz and setting out the specific advice you would like to receive.

Finally, the good people at bookabach have reacted very positively to the latest media publicity issue.  They are providing advice to members on how to help protect their assets.  This references MethMinder and in acknowledgement of this, we are offering bookabach clients a discount from our standard rates through to the end of November.  Contact us to find out more.


Justice for meth lab Victims in New Zealand

As at today, the system that is used to manage properties which have been used to cook meth, is responsible for producing many of the people who could be classed as victims of meth lab crime.

First and foremost, these victims include the people who own the property.  They, or their appointed Property Manager, can undertake all the precautions recommended by the likes of the Insurance Council, and yet still the house can easily be used to cook meth.

Yes a Property Investor has the option to install MethMinder.  Smart operators around the country have done so and they will reap the rewards for doing.  But still many people are ignorant of the existence of MethMinder and unaware of just how big a risk meth use is.

When somebody uses a property to cook meth in, the lack of joined up thinking between the private and government sectors, means the owner of that property has lost tens of thousands of dollars!  Would you pay the same amount for a former meth lab as you would for the clean property down the road.

When unsuspecting property investors become victims, some take the hit on the chin and do the right thing.  Spending $80,000 on tidying up a property worth $360,000 is not unheard of.  However, others aren’t prepared to wear this loss and they way they choose to manage their misfortune, makes other people victims too!

Take the people in this TV3 story on Campbell Live.  we brought this story to the attention of the media, because two separate and unrelated conversations months apart identified that the same property and property owner had compromised the health of two families and the Landlord was then onto his third set.

Perhaps he chooses to do this because the financial and legal consequences of letting a property contaminated with carcinogenic and poisonous chemicals ($3000 maximum) is less than the consequences of running naked onto a rugby pitch ($5000 and up to 3 months in jail!)?

Regardless of his reasons, his choices have made victims of others.

So, what happens when he sells the place? Will he tell the new owners?  Time will tell.  However, we have received a report of how one person bought a ‘do up’ investment property and moved the family only to move them out a couple of weeks later when the paperwork from the Police and Council caught up with each other.  He then had a prohibition notice and cleansing order slapped on him.

Interestingly the maximum fine you can receive for entering a property with a prohibition notice on it is also greater ($5,000) than the maximum fine a landlord who rents out their meth contaminated property will receive!!!!!!

When you add in the children who are innocent victims, it becomes pretty apparent that something needs to be done to tidy this up!

Though its involvement with the IMP2ACT Trust, MethMinder is working hard to deliver solutions that involve the Community of Work/Business and the Community of Government.  These solutions will also rely on the support of the Communities of Life in which we all live.  We need to engage with the authorities where we suspect meth is being cooked and lobby our Government for solutions for victims of meth lab crime and meaningful penalties for those who make others victims of meth lab crime.

Share your thoughts at the Facebook discussion Group ‘Justice for meth lab Victims of New Zealand’.

Find out how to get investment property or hotel/motel protected from meth lab risk by sending a request for more information to info@methminder.co.nz


Best Practice Property Management & meth lab Risk

In this Month’s issue of NZ Property Investor Magazine, there is an article that talks about the steps that can be taken to avoid the tenants from hell.  Thanks to a proactive staff member, MethMinder was able to get a few precious column inches that at least let people know we are out there.

Through the work we have done, we have built up some great relationships with Property Managers.  They have a pretty thankless task it is fair to say and while there are undoubtedly some cowboys out there, the people and organisations we have dealt with appear to have done a great job.  Goodwin Realty in Central/West Auckland were the first people to actively promote MethMinder to their clients.  They are gradually being joined by the likes of RER and First National Manurewa. Many others are now talking to us and we will let you know who these people are in due course.

The significance of the client promotions they undertake, is that they are honest about the service they offer and even though they do not want to upset their clients or make them unduly bothered, they believe that it is really important that their clients are not kept in the dark.  They are professionals.  And, rather than hear about MethMinder and make the decision on their client’s behalf as to how they manage meth lab risk, they have had an open and honest dialogue.

This means that their clients are now aware that while best practice property management reduces risk, through vetting of tenants and the requirements around provision of ID and references, it still leaves their investment exposed.  These risks include

  • Actions of tenant family members and friends
  • Coercion of tenants by meth criminals
  • The fact that the 48 hours notice under the Residential Tenancy Act is more than enough time to clear away evidence of a meth lab
  • Willingness of ‘good’ tenants to front from drug gangs
  • Lack of community engagement with drug issues (remember the explosion in Glenbrook referenced under the Blog Post ‘Small Steps toward winning the War on P’
  • The risk of ‘good’ tenants going ‘bad’ (Blog Post Happy Christmas from a meth cook!)
  • The variable response of Police to reports of drug related activity (Blog Post Happy Christmas from a meth cook! – neighbours raised their concerns with Police weeks before the explosion that destroyed the property)
  • The failure of the Courts to check with Property Owners as to whether or not somebody has the right to be bailed to a property (In some areas the Justice system still properly discharges its obligations, but this has been shown to fail in Auckland.  ’Resource Swamping’ is a term coined to explain what happens when the Police enjoy too much success in busting meth criminals.  With 52% of the people awaiting trial in the High Court there in meth related charges, one could be forgiven in thinking that the authorities might ask the Police to go easy on busting too many more meth criminals!)

What does this mean for the owner of an investment property?  For some full time and fully focused property investors, DIY property management will still be the way to go.  However, if you are not fully engaged tough as nails (remember meth criminals are chemically altered people who will lie, steal, thieve and cheat to get what they want and think nothing of emptying your retirement funds of value) then we would recommend you consider appointing a Property Manager.  If you are not directly referred to a Property Manager from somebody who has experienced their service, then check out the Real Estate Instutute of New Zealand website. REINZ members are bound by a code of conduct which extends to how they look after your money!

For those who do choose to self manage and feel they have not had a problem therefore they never will and so MethMinder is not necessary, we wish you luck.  Remember though, that in discounting MethMinder, you miss out on an opportunity to increase investment returns in the short term and preserve asset value in the long term.

Find out how to get protected by sending a request for more information to info@methminder.co.nz


Hotels a target for meth cooks!

A survey conducted by MethMinder to judge people’s reactions to Hotels and Motels that proactively managed meth risk, revealed that the vast majority of people would stay in such a hotel or motel over one which could not provide assurances over cleanliness/safety.  It also threw up a comment from one respondent that is echoed by hotel industry bodies when it comes to meth lab risk.  Essentially, ‘large hotels are not at risk from meth cooks’.

I suspect this is a view held by many.  However, it is erroneous.  It is not that meth cooks don’t target large hotels.  Rather, they are difficult to catch and when this does happen, the large hotels do a great job of managing the media attention.  So, it was with a great deal of surprise that we read about the meth lab being found at Auckland’s 4 Star Quadrant Hotel. In the article, the General Manager declines to comment and people could be forgiven for thinking this is an isolated incident.

Like the Herald, when we provided the GM with some information regarding MethMinder, we received no response.  No great surprises!  However, I suspect if you did get the GM to respond, he would say that they do what the industry as a whole does and that there risk is no different form anybody else.

IF that is indeed the case then, as this Blog posting from a former prostitute and meth user shows, the Quadrant has had a reputationas being a great place to get freshly made product for years, and people who use the more expensive hotels in town are at just as great a risk as anybody else.

Find out how to get protected by sending a request for more information to info@methminder.co.nz


Small steps toward winning wth ‘War on P’

Every day we are seeing more and more evidence of the profound and detrimental effect meth is having on our society.

Some of the articles in the media are specifically meth related. Others, tell tales of horrific violence and abuse, physical and sexual, of children and families. Few of these make the specific connection between meth use and the consequences. Yet the actions of the people involved, are consistent with the chemically altered behaviour of meth users.

This limited reporting needs to change if we are to understand the real threat meth presents to our way of life.

Some reporting is directly related to meth. Yet, it is only by reading between the lines that we get an insight as to just how exposed investment property owners are.

The Herald reported a meth lab exploding in Glenbrook, just South of Auckland. Police expressed ‘disappointment’ that the locals knew the property was a meth lab, yet said nothing.

We should not be so surprised.

Before Christmas, we wrote in this Blog ’Happy Christmas from a Meth Cook’. In this situation, one of the neighbours had contacted the Police with their concerns regarding activity at the property.  This took place weeks before the property exploded. Apparently, nothing happened.

When somebody has engaged with the Police and from their perspective ‘nothing happens’, why would they bother to put themselves through the angst and uncertainty of doing so again?

We know of another property in central Auckland where neighbours have reported their concerns to Police.  The property has been busted by Police for meth related activity three times before. These reports were made weeks ago. No communication from the Police, based on the infromation provided, has been forthcoming. Nothing appears to have happened. How does this make the neighbours feel about engaging with Police?

If society is to win the ‘War on P’, then the public needs to know what its role is and the servants of the public, in this case the Police, need to engage with the public in a manner that positively reinforces these actions and lets them know they have been heard.

Until this happens, society will be on the back foot.

What this means to property investors is that:

  1. You cannot rely on the neighbours to help you protect your investment
  2. You cannot rely on the Police to do so either.
  3. You cannot rely on insurance companies who are increasingly distancing themselves from payouts to victims of meth lab operators
  4. You cannot rely on ‘best practice property management’ to protect you as you cannot vet all known associated of a tenant, you cannot be there 24/7, you cannot control the apathy of the public and you cannot stop the courts bailing criminals to your property without consultation.

In the absence of MethMinder, your meth lab risks are going to continue to rise!!!!!!!!!

How often do you gamble with tens of thousands of dollars?

the Sunday News indicated that a third of the homes tested for meth by NZDDA, showed up as being positive.

Given that professionals who provide forensic testing services to the authorities estimate that in some parts of New Zealand, Auckland in particular, in excess of 20% of the population (10 times official government usage statistics) are meth users, this is not surprising.

These alarming statistics clearly indicate that the risk of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into a contaminated and compromised asset is real.  Yet, despite this, tens of thousands of property investors are ‘trusting to luck’ when it comes to protecting their properties from meth lab risk.

In fairness, many people still do not know that they can do something to protect themselves.  That MethMinder even exists.  This despite the fact that we have invested significant resources in communicating our existences to the property industry professionals. These are people and organisations that provide advice on property investment and risk to potential investors and have a responsibilty to keep their clients informed.

We are delighted to say, that we are beginning to see change.  Some property industry professionals are recognising that it is important that investors are made fully aware of the risks to which they are exposed, the limitations associated with property management practices that rely solely on human intervention brought about by notification requirements under the Residential Tenancy Act and the fact that there are ways in which meth lab risks can be managed.

An example of such an organisation is Goodwin Property Management (GPM). GPM look after properties around Auckland with a focus on Central/Inner West Auckland.  While they are not aware of a meth lab locating in one of the properties they manage, the GPM team recognise this is a real risk for their clients.  As such, they have initiated a client meth awareness exercise.  This started in late 2010 and is being run in conjunction with MethMinder.  This exercise encourages clients to stop ignoring the meth lab risk issue and to make a conscious decision about how they will manage it. There is a strong focus for the first half of 2011 and then there will be ongoing communications to ensure new clients are kept informed.

GPM recognise it is vitally important for their clients to be informed and to make decisions on these matters.  It is part of the way they add value to their clients.  It is also worth noting that undertaking this sort of client communication exercise, GPM will be reducing their exposure to potential liability that may arise if a meth lab locates in a client’s property and they have not explained the risks and protection options to their clients.

We will provide an update in the near future and also let you know which other organisations are actively engaged in helping their clients manage this risk.

For more information on MethMinder send an email with your request to info@methminder.co.nz and we will contact you to let you know how to get protected.


Hotel/Motel Update

Toward the end of last year we wrote about the potential of New Zealanders and tourists to be exposed to Meth lab risk by staying in one of our hotels or motels.  As part of our efforts to understand public perception of and reaction to this risk, we carried out some high level survey work.

This showed that 60% of New Zealanders have no idea they are at risk when staying in a hotel or motel but the fact that this risk exists is a concern for everybody.

We asked whether people were more likely to stay in a hotel that actively managed the risk and communicated what they were doing to patrons.

100% of respondees indicated they were more likely to stay there than go down the road to the place that was carrying on business as usual and keeping the public in the dark!

65% of respondees would definitely stay in a hotel that took a proactive approach and 24% said they would stay there regardless of the cost with 38% of respondees prepared to pay $20 or more per night.

So what does this mean for hoteliers?

Well, they can continue to keep the public in the dark and take their chances.  This will continue to ramp up their costs and liabilities until they are made to do something.

Alternatively, they can recognise that by being proactive with their meth lab risk management and actively marketing their efforts to the public, they can expect to enjoy increased bed nights and have the opportunity to charge more.

To us this demonstrates how including MethMinder as part of an active risk management process can help people not only protect their assets, but make money!

When written, words in the Chinese language are made up of characters.  The word ‘Crisis’ is made up of two separate characters – ‘Risk’ and ‘Opportunity’.  So when it comes to how hoteliers and moteliers deal with the effect our meth crisis is having on them, they can either continue to suffer losses associated with the risk, or they can add value to their business by taking advantage of the opportunities MethMinder can help make available.

To find out more about how you can take advantage of this opportunity, send an email to info@methminder.co.nz or call us on 0800 638 464 and we will advise how you can get protected!


How safe are our hotels and motels?

Much of the content of our Blog has looked at rental properties.  This is because nearly 50% of the Meth labs police find are located in Meth labs.

As a consequence of this, many people feel they are remote from Meth lab risk.  However, if you ever stay in a hotel, private cabin and even baches, you are increasingly likely to be exposed to the hazardous by-products of Meth cooking.  This is because the highly portable nature of the equipment being used by Meth cooks, allows them to set up and break down in a matter of hours.

This Christmas, people staying in hotels, motels, cabins and baches will get sick.  Not because they over indulged in the Christmas spirit, but because they are staying in a contaminated former Meth lab and their bodies are being poisoned by toxic gases seeping out of the walls, carpets, ceilings and furniture.

We have communicated our concerns to Qualmark, the entity responsible for helping to provide guidance and assurance on the quality of experience people can expect when staying at one of our hotels and motels.  They have advised us that they will look at this issue as and when the need arises.

Well this is going on every day and many, many properties have already been affected right across NZ.  And it is not just budget hotels that are targeted.  When you an turn $30 worth of cold treatment into over a thousand dollars worth of Meth in a matter of minutes, you can afford to pay for high end hotels.

So, Mr. Qualmark, we say the need to address this already exists!

The MethMinder field device is capable of being used by hotel and motel operators to help deter Meth cooks and help protect our health.  Some basic survey work indicates that doing so will be good for business.

The idea of a hotel or motel giving patrons reassurance around this risk to their health and wellbeing, appeals to people.  Typically, they will prefer to stay in a hotel offering this assurance and many will pay more to do so.

This shifts MethMinder from being a cost to an investment that will help increase occupancy rates and profitability.

We are interested in extending our understanding of how the NZ Public feels about this important issue.  We have the Rugby World Cup coming to NZ in 2011 and this issue has the potential to tarnish our reputation as a place that offers ‘World Class’  visitor experiences.

Getting the likes of Qualmark and the hotel and motel operators to take this issue seriously and protect our health will only happen if the NZ public lets them know we want action!

Send an email titled ‘Take the Survey’ to info@methminder.co.nz and we will send you a copy.


Happy Christmas from a Meth Cook!

Those of you who have heard presentations from the MethMinder will have heard us say that no matter how good a tenant you have, things change in people’s lives and some people turn to Meth. When this happens the consequences are dire and the few hundred dollars it costs to have your property protected by MethMinder become insignificant.

Well the owner of a property in Meadway, Pakuranga has found out the reality of these statements the hard way.  This from the Herald

What this story doesn’t tell you, is that the tenants of the property had been renting for over four years. They were a father and son. They were employed, with at least one member of the family working in the drainage business. Times have been tough in the drainage business and it seems that the tenants decided to supplement their income by cooking Meth.

The son had a partner who lived elsewhere with their one year old daughter. The daughter would often visit dad in this alleged Meth lab.

Neighbours reported increased levels of allergy like symptoms in the last couple fo weeks.  Sore eyes etc, but have been puting it down to the season. They have noticed more and more strangers visiting the property over the last year to 18 months.  The police advised that the kitchen windows were hung with blankets and neighbouring properties could see into the house.  Yet it is only in the last three weeks a neighbour has reported their concerns to the police.  Still, this was not enough to save the property.

What this unfortunate property owner is left with is evidenced by these photos, taken at the property today. They show a house that is gutted, a property that cannot be used and armed police on the street.  The costs of repair will be tens of thousands of dollars and it remains to be seen how well the insurance industry responds.  We wish them luck!

Gutted Property in Meadway Pakuranga
Gutted Property in Meadway Pakuranga
Danger Do Not Enter!
Danger Do Not Enter!
Police in the Street!
Police in the Street!

Regardless of what insurance pay out this owner gets, they now own a former Meth lab. The value of their property has plummetted.  No matter how well insurance responds, it does not yet cover loss of value.  So, if  these owners are relying on capital gain to deliver them a return on their investment, their aspirations have just taken a massive hit!

Do not let this happen to your investment.   Send your details to info@methminder.co.nz or call us on 0800 638 464 and we will advise how you can get protected!


MethMinder Team at NZRPM 2010, Wellington

Hats off to REINZ for organising a great conference! Congratulations to the winners of the various prizes, in particular to Pat Taylor Realty (Auckland based Ray White franchise) who took out the top property management team prize again this year.

The enthusiasm of attendees was infectious and the response to MethMinder very encouraging.  Most property managers present had a Meth lab related story (a few horror stories) and attendees came from all over New Zealand.  It was great to understand first hand how more and more property managers are recognising that supporting their best practice with our best available technology is the most effective way of property owners protecting their investments.

Feedback from the conference was that most attendees will finds ways of discharging their professional obligation to keep their clients informed about MethMinder.  There is a realisation, brought about by face to face discussion, that telling clients about MethMinder is a good news event.  For once there is something that can be done to mitigate the Meth lab risks!

Telling clients about MethMinder also makes them responsible for the decision to install MethMinder.  From a risk management perspective, property managers who know about MethMinder and do not tell their clients are putting themselves at risk in the event a Meth lab is discovered.  So, all round, it makes sense to let clients know.

Since Wellington we have been in communication with property managers around the country and we are supporting a number of communication initiatives.

For more details contact:
Miles Stratford 095773314 or miles.stratford@methminder.co.nz


MethMinder Team to attend NZRPM 2010, Wellington

The MethMinder team is delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand’s (REINZ) Residential Property Management Conference which is being held in Wellington, New Zealand on the 15th and 16th of October, says Miles Stratford Director of MethMinder.

The Conference has a great speaker and programme line up.  The MethMinder team are really looking forward to interacting with attendees to help people understand how they can add value to their client relationshps by mitigating the risk and liability associated with clandestine Meth labs.

We will report back on events!


Methlab Contamination of Rental Properties – How do landlords do the right thing?

People who own investment properties who are not monitoring them for Methamphetamine manufacture 24/7 are exposed to massive risk, says Miles Stratford Director of MethMinder.

The insidious nature of the drug and the targeting of relatively high net worth individuals by organised crime, means most people are astonished to find that the dominant profile of a Meth cook is a European Male in their mid thirties to mid forties who is married with children.

The nice family that moves into a Landlord’s rental investment may in fact be haunted by Meth addiction.  While the P user may control things for a while, statistics show that eventually they will go off the rails.  At this point, all too often they turn to cooking or are coerced into cooking Meth by the gangs, in order to feed their habit.

Catch Meth cooking early through 24/7 monitoring of a property, and you can control and limit the impact.  It is for this reason that MethMinder was developed.

Trust to luck, intuition and standard property management practices and a Meth lab operates for months without detection.  If this happens, a landlord’s investment could be ruined.

The cruel reality of Meth lab contamination of properties, is that each year the hundreds of landlords whose properties are are affected by Meth labs, typically have nowhere to go in order to get financial support.  This despite the fact that more often than not, they are innocent parties.

If they report suspicions of Meth lab related activity to the police and they are correct, the bad guys may get put away, but they are left with a bill for tens of thousands of dollars in clean up.  Most, if not all, of this financial loss will be unrecoverable.

They are unlikely to get support from their insurance company, even where a policy includes some limited amount of cover.  In addition, the landlord loses value on their property as it is now known as a former P Lab.  New laws around disclosure make this a legal requirement.

Where they are borrowing funds in order to finance their investment activity, their banks may require a further injection of capital as the devaluation of the property means their Lending to Value Ratio (LVR) no longer works. If they do not have cash reserves or assets such as boats and vehicles capable of rapid liquidation, where do they get these funds from?

In short, if somebody who suspects illicit activity does the right thing by Meth and reports their concerns to police, they run the risk of financial ruin!

Where is the incentive to do the right thing by Meth?

Anecdotally we hear that when faced with the choice of; Option A massive unrecoverable financial loss, or Option B covering up the issue and getting in new tenants or selling the property on, all too often landlords choose Option B.  As soon as this happens, an otherwise law abiding citizen becomes little better than the criminals responsible for the damage that is driving their decision making.  They themselves, become criminals.

All because the alternative is the possibility of financial ruin!

This iniquitous situation needs to be resolved.

We have talked about the proposed ‘Do the Right thing by Meth Forum!’ before.  We see the landlord’s dilemma as being an example of the type of issue that presents a road block to a strong and cohesive societal response to the Meth problem.  By bringing the relevant government and private sector agencies together, we believe the Forum can address and remove this and other roadblocks.

If innocent landlords who have done all they can to protect their property suspect illicit activity, they should not suffer extreme financial loss as a consequence.  They should be properly compensated.  Changing this paradigm, will see the resources available to the authorities in their fight against P grow significantly.

With proper mechanisms for compensating law abiding landlords who suffer loss at the hands of the Meth cooks, meaningful sanctions can then be developed for those landlords who break the law and fail to do the right thing by Meth!

We believe the benefits that will flow from addressing these issues will be tremendous.  The sooner the Forum is established the better!


Should a New Methamphetamine  Forum be Established In New Zealand?

Meth (P) is a whole of society problem.  As such, it needs a whole of society response if we are to address the impact this insidious drug is having, says Miles Stratford Director of Anrai Detection, a world leading organisation specialising in the prevention of methamphetamine manufacture.

We envisage a forum, that is mandated to develop an aligned and measurable response to the Meth problem that engages representatives of all those impacted by methamphetamine in New Zealand.  We believe this initiative is essential if the massive efforts and investments that are being made around the country are to have maximum effect.

Geoffrey Dye, Business Development manager for Anrai Detection has been researching and working within the methamphetamine  area for over three years.  He has identified a lack of connectedness between the different parties who are suposed to be working toward the same thing. A society where Meth is recognised for the evil it represents and people are actively encouraged and advised on how to do the right thing by Meth.

Great but isolated progress is being made on the Meth problem.  However, the synergies which can be achieved by focusing the efforts of the many divergent disciplines arrayed against the Meth problem are considerable.  What does not currently exist, is a framework and mechanism within which this focus and alignment can take place.  A Forum mandated to develop a targeted programme of activity can make the difference.

New Zealand leads the world in terms of numbers of Meth addicts per head of population.  We have a small population and a tremendous number of smart, innovative and passionate people.  It is time we stop looking overseas for solution to our problems.  We have the capacity to develop solutions that are world leading.  Let us do so and have the world come to New Zealand in order to see how we succeeded in encouraging society to ‘Do the right thing by Meth!’

We are working to determine the appetite within the established Meth channels for development of this Forum.  We will update you on progress in future postings. Show your support for this concept by commenting on this posting and we will add you to our database of supporters!

Geoff Dye


September 2010

Guidelines for the Remediation of Clandestine Methamphetamine Laboratory Sites

Click hereto download the Guidelines for the Remediation of Clandestine Methamphetamine Laboratory Sites, by the Ministry of Health.

Or call Geoff Dye At MethMinder on ph NZ 0800-638-464 or email gdye@methminder.co.nz, or info@methminder.co.nz webwww.methminder.co.nz

Geoff Dye

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