A charity sausage sizzle snagged by red tape is doing better than ever after shifting to a new location on private property.
St John Paihia was told to slash its sausage sizzles on Williams Rd from around 20 a year to two after the owner of a nearby business complained to the Far North District Council about the impact on his sausage sales.
The council's Mobile Shops and Hawkers Bylaw allows groups to hold at most two fundraisers a year on public land within 400m of competing businesses.
Last Saturday, however, the St John volunteers were back, setting up their barbecue in front of Countdown across the road from their old site next to the ASB bank.
Bay of Islands Area Committee member Ann-Marie Kingi said since the story broke last week St John had been inundated with offers of alternative locations.
They included sites within existing stores and at the market on the Village Green, though that was council land so the same issues would have arisen there.
The committee took up Countdown's offer because it was private land but had a high public profile.
The sizzle was as much an awareness raiser for the volunteer-run Paihia station as it was a fundraiser.
The response had been ''massive'', Kingi said.
''We probably did twice as many sausages as usual and we got a lot of donations for our projects.''
Saturday's cruise ship started from Auckland so most passengers were Kiwis. Many had read about the controversy and wanted to show their support, she said.
Others had started alternative fundraisers such as Paihia man Rob van der Wetering, who was taking 360-degree photos of local businesses for online promotion and giving the fee to St John.
Kingi said the council had been prepared to help find a solution once the story went public.
Juggling council bylaws and Ministry for Primary Industries' food safety rules, which set a limit of 20 sausage sizzles a year, was likely to be an ongoing issue.
The sausages were helping pay for defibrillators and a health van which would make home visits for people who couldn't get to a doctor. Patients would also be given vouchers if they needed to see a GP.
The idea was to take pressure off first responders by getting health problems seen to earlier, Kingi said.
The sizzles are held on cruise ship days when the town is at its busiest, but wiener vendor Robert Cross, whose business is located in the Paihia Lanes, earlier told the Advocate he lost money every day the sausage sizzle was operating.
He said he was happy to get involved with fundraising that didn't interfere with Paihia businesses.
The council's Mobile Shops and Hawkers Bylaw 2010 was automatically revoked in 2017 after it was not renewed on time.
Council environmental services manager Darren Edwards said the council had not tried to enforce the bylaw but had advised St John of the complaint and worked with the organisation to come up with alternative locations.
The council had sought independent legal advice and been told it had not acted unlawfully by collecting fees or taking action under expired bylaws such as the Mobile Shops and Hawkers Bylaw 2010.
''The council has not made any prosecutions under the bylaws since they expired and it will continue to charge for fees and services rendered at rates set out in the Annual Plan,'' Edwards said.