Cabinet Minister Rodney Hide's advice that a businessman should build a shower without adhering to council requests has been backed by a decision that the council was in the wrong in the first place.
Mr Hide, who appeared on national television on Tuesday night to discuss the Resource Management Act, said he believed businessman Garry Bull should ignore the law and build the shower anyway. "As a Minister I can't recommend breaking the law, but I believe he should."
Yesterday Mr Hide, who is the Minister for Regulatory Reform and Local Government, stood by those comments, saying there were lots of people doing exactly the same thing because the current laws weren't working.
"I know there are people up and down New Zealand that are breaking the law because its impossible to comply with.
"The councils themselves aren't complying with the laws, I'm simply stating the reality."
Mr Hide said he's received more than 1000 letters from people complaining about building rules and regulations. One was from Christchurch locksmith Garry Bull who wanted to put a shower in at his business so employees could wash after riding to work on their bikes. When he checked with the Christchurch City Council about converting one of two toilets into a shower he was told it would have to be wheelchair accessible - despite none of his staff being in wheelchairs. To comply with this regulation the cost of the shower would rise from $2000 to $10,000.
Yesterday Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson, who had been briefed by Mr Hide about Mr Bull's case, said there was no need for the locksmith to have a wheelchair accessible shower in order to comply with the Building Code.
"The Building Code does provide room for local authorities to exercise judgment when existing buildings are being altered. In this case, an accessible shower would only be required if there was more than one shower being installed."