Steampunk Close up

June 6, 2012

Close up took a look at last weekend’s Steampunk Festival in Oamaru.

The video is here.

Oamru Life has photos of Oamaru on Fire which opened the weekend’s festivities.

I’ve borrowed this one:



Building regs go too far

February 4, 2009

A builder told me that recent increases in building regulations had added about $10,000 to the cost of a new house.

We ran into a relatively minor bit of extra red tape when we put a new house on the dairy farm.

It’s got a French door from the living room and the distance from the house to the path was a little higher than comfortable. I suggested raising the path but the builder said he couldn’t because regulations in the wake of the leaky homes saga required a minimum height.

He had to add a step which gets in the way of children wanting to ride bikes on the path – and this is on the side of a hill in North Otago where, with an annual rainfall of just 20 inches, leaky homes have never been a problem.

Even relatively minor alterations can turn into major ones because of over-strict regulations. Close-Up  last night told the story of a locksmith who wanted to put a shower in for employees and found the $2,000 budget would blow out by another $8,000 because the building code requires wheelchair accessibility.

The requirement for disabled access and loos in public buildings is understandable but the need for a wheel-chair friendly shower in every little business is going too far.

However, New Zealand isn’t the only place this happens. We visited a sheep feedlot in northern New South Wales which was built on stilts to keep it cool and make cleaning up the droppings easier. During the plannning the building inspector told the owner it would have to have a ramp so the loo could be accessed by workers in wheelchairs.

She pointed out that the nature of the work, which included shearing, meant it couldn’t be done by people with that sort of disability but the council wouldn’t budge because every workplace had to have wheel chair accessible loos. She finally got around the code by putting the loo under the shed at ground level.

Swimming Through Syrup In Gumboots

July 2, 2008

Ever wondered what it’s like swimming through syrup in gumboots? Try getting the drainage at your school fixed.

Show Me The Money describes Mike Hosking’s interview on Close UP:

The Education Ministry’s National Property Manager Paul Burke first went through his bureaucratic routine of trying to explain why the school hadn’t quite jumped through all the hoops yet, despite three years of trying. He was trying to explain the shape of the hoops, the number of hoops, how round they were, what they were made of and the exact nature of the leaps required to jump said hoops. He wore a lovely suit with a beautiful tie. He seemed like a man who knew the rules very well. 

I wanted to throw things at the television. Mike Hosking avoided throwing things. But he did quickly tear apart the Kafka-esque web the good bureaucrat was weaving. Why was it taking so long? Why couldn’t the drains be fixed? How many consultants does it take to change the lightbulbs at Tiaho school….and why?

If this was an isolated case it would be bad enough, but it’s not.

It’s the product of the form filling, tick-box, hoop jumping, policy and proceedure before progress mentality which gives bureaucrats the power to say no but strips them of the courage to say yes.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

%d bloggers like this: