A brand new, "world class" (as described by Hunting & Fishing CEO Darren Jacobs) Hunting & Fishing store opened in Kaitaia on Wednesday. On Thursday it was closed, open on Friday afternoon, closed over the weekend and yesterday. All going well it will be open today or tomorrow.

Owners Barry and Shona Judd, and their landlords, Joel and Rochelle McCarthny, were told on Wednesday by the Far North District Council that the building's fire alarm system needed to be independently assessed, and that could not happen until tomorrow.

On Friday, however, the council's general manager district services, Dean Myburgh, said the shop could open at the owners' own risk, although the council would not "prematurely sign off the fire design elements considered to be at issue."

There were two issues — the lack of an independent assessment of the fire alarm and changes required by the council to the building, including the replacement of interior handles on exterior doors with 'panic bars.' That condition was later retracted.


Mr McCarthny said it was standard practice in the Far North to allow a building to be used without the final assessment of the alarm system, and there had been no issues with the fire report, which had been submitted to the council with the building consent application before construction began.

The two council inspectors who arrived on Thursday had conceded that they did not understand the fire report, and were ordering that the shop be closed as a precaution until an independent assessment had been completed.

Mr McCarthny said he could not explain why the inspectors had not simply phoned the author of the report, while the insurers were happy for the shop to open.

"We're completely covered for every eventuality. They have no concerns at all," Mrs McCarthny said. "The fire report says the building is safe. The council's inspectors, who told us they don't understand the fire report, says they don't know if it's safe.

"They could clarify that with one phone call, but instead of doing that they've closed the business for a week. I don't understand."