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Housing Minister Phil Twyford needs to explain why taxpayers are compensating people for breaking the law, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.

“The fact is the previous National Government acted on the best available expert advice. We repeatedly questioned that advice but it remained - it was unsafe to put people in a house which had been used for smoking methamphetamine.

“Housing New Zealand took the matter so seriously it took precautions whenever tradespeople or tenancy managers needed to enter these houses. What responsible Government would put a family in there? Is the Government saying it would have ignored that advice?

“Embattled Housing Minister Phil Twyford has tried to turn what the experts at the time said was a health and safety issue into a political one and he’s desperately slinging mud and money in a bid to take pressure off himself.

“Housing New Zealand did not evict tenants purely for the level of contamination of methamphetamine if it couldn’t be proved they were responsible - those tenants had to have broken their tenancy in some other way. Otherwise they would have been re-housed.

“Mr Twyford has decided to compensate people for being moved out of their state house for breaking the law or their tenancy agreement. He’s paying out millions of dollars including to people who were smoking or cooking P in state houses while deserving, law-abiding families waited on the waiting list.

“There might have been cases where people were unfairly removed. If that’s the case they should be compensated and Housing New Zealand management should answer for it. But it defies belief all 800 households were evicted unfairly. If they broke the law, or their agreement and were smoking P in their state house they should not receive money from the taxpayer.

“No responsible Government would ignore expert advice when it came of the health and safety of vulnerable children.”

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