9 Feb 2017

HNZ home infested with cockroaches

From Checkpoint, 5:17 pm on 9 February 2017

An Auckland state house tenant has been living in a cockroach infested Housing New Zealand home for more than five months because HNZ has repeatedly delayed fumigating it, he says.

Daniel Laybourn, 32, says there are "hundreds, if not thousands" of cockroaches in his Otara state home, and despite weekly requests for around half a year, Housing New Zealand (HNZ) are yet to send anyone to help.

When Checkpoint visited him today, there were swarms of cockroaches hiding behind his fridge and oven, despite his home seeming to be clean.

"At night time it's five times worse," Mr Laybourn said.

He said he would move out if he could, but was recently made redundant from a call centre job, and has nowhere else to go. His rent is $72 per week.

He said he was applying for jobs, and went to an interview today.

"[HNZ] say, 'you're going to have to wait another three months,' and I just say I need it done now because we have kids in the house," Mr Laybourn said.

Mr Laybourn lives with his cousin who has a five-month-old daughter, and his three-year-old son stays with him at weekends.

"We've spent our own money as well, fleabombing the house - not that we can afford it, but we try.

"We use bleach, we use epsom salts because cockroaches hate those, but we're just getting more and more cockroaches."

Mr Laybourn said he had to buy food on a daily basis, to try and avoid his food being infested by cockroaches.

Housing New Zealand disputed Daniel's timeline, and in a statement said the first record they had of him asking for help was two and a half months ago.

They said they inspected the home at the end of April 2016 and found it to be "in good order", and the first record of contact regarding any pest problem was 23 November.

Housing New Zealand said cockroaches were very common in all parts of Auckland and as Mr Laybourn had been unable to fix the problem himself, it had logged a pest control job to be carried out "shortly".