Updated: Jul 12, 2018

Serum is an Auckland based website/blog looking at culture, music and fashion. From time to time we will share content, HERE is a photo essay looking at abandoned and un-occupied homes amidst a housing crisis in Auckland City.

Professionally cleaning a ‘contaminated house’ where meth is suspected to have been smoked costs about $17,000, then additional costs for refurbishing and loss of rent add up to over $40,000 says one landlord and owner affected by an ongoing government scheme that evicted predominantly lower income tenants and left them homeless. Some were banned from applying for public housing ever again.

The new Labour Government has revealed a recent report by Sir Peter Gluckman, a science expert who says the policy used to carry out these wrong doings held no real weight to begin with. There was no evidence to confirm those who’d inhaled air in a ‘contaminated house’ would suffer health problems. Mould and damp would have been a much better issue to invest in many say. Those involved are calling for compensation and justice, but right now Housing New Zealand, Paula Bennett (National’s ex Housing Minister) and the Ministry of Health are all pointing the blame at each other, much like a circular motion, much like the money that was spent. The case gets even more curious when you find out that the company ‘Accessible Properties’ which identified 147 homes that needed decontaminating, according to a HNZ contractor who spoke to Checkpoint anonymously, in some cases went on to carry out the identified repairs, paid for by HNZ.

Predominantly young struggling WINZ assisted families were the ones who ended up paying for these renovations via a debt scheme for tenants caught with traces of P in their homes. They not only had to pay back the cost of cleaning and refurbishment, but they had to pay ultimately with the loss of their homes, their security, debt levels and sense of place and belonging as well. This happened to families living in homes where meth smoking may have occurred in the property before their tenancy began. Families living in cars and garageswere reported in the media and highlighted as a huge problem while hundreds of state homes sat empty across the country for years. Not to mention the cost to the tax payer. How many children were left homeless, stuck in transition or dealt with the effects of overcrowding as a result? Work and Income’s solution was to house families in motels once kicked out, one mum I met in Hamilton had two kids and had been paying $800 a week to a motel across town for months before she moved next door.

Anyway, here’s a photo essay I did after visiting some abandoned homes I’d noticed sitting idle on the street for weeks. After breakfast one morning NXVA and I went exploring, jumped a fence and got chased by construction workers..Oopsie…I really wanted to shoot the tractor. It was big.

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