I really get frustrated with how difficult both local and national government make peoples lives when they want to do something for money or home improvement.
Primarily we only have ourselves to blame for this situation, as whenever we bungle something, we want to blame someone other than ourselves. Home leaky because you went with the cheapest quote? Blame the council. Tripped because you’re a clumsy oaf? That curb wasn’t engineered properly! Purchased your food from “The Good Guys” mobile shopping service and ended up paying $30 for a can of beans? Run to the paper and have a moan that the government didn’t protect you! The authorities get sick of it and have an exhausting stack of rules, guidelines, paperwork, standards and fees to “minimise risk”.
There are other reasons too. Career public servants need to justify their jobs. Without having any experience of business themselves, they have acquired a bizarre kink that sees them putting signs everywhere and formulating policies to “minimise risk”. Public servants like this should be bailed up and forced to listen to some sort of Bob Jones’ audiobook and then be reviewed by a farmer and signed off by the farmer before they can come back to work. This could act to balance their wildly authoritarian world view and be a boon for their so called clients.
You could argue this is part and parcel of living in the first world… Much less exciting but more safe. China makes life easy for the schemer and dreamer. But in China elevators and escalators kill people, and fake eggs are sold at Walmart.
I would like to see a debate about personal responsibility so we can find the right balance between what we have here now, and say Dongguan.
Here are some anecdotes of dealings with the council. If you have your own stories please share them in the comments below.
- The Regent got a visit from the health inspector once a few years back because someone reported seeing a mouse run across the stage. The look on her face was that of a gravely concerned person. She took her job very seriously. Brent had a bit of fun with her and suggested it wasn’t a mouse, it was his cat (which would have been fine!). She didn’t quite believe him so called the complainer and verified that it was definitely a mouse and not a cat. Brent then claimed that the mouse was dead now because he found one in the trap, and she asked him if he had recorded the death to prove that. She wanted a spreadsheet set up with all mice deaths being recorded with the relevant particulars such as time of death, location, and the colour of the mouse and told him this could be inspected in the future. Brent nodded his head then got me to download an old nazi dossier sheet which we now use as the mouse death register. The inspector is not amused by this and hasn’t actually been in to inspect the kill sheet since.
- I imported bunch of solar panels and solar water heaters a couple of years ago. They were from a factory called TH Solar which does huge business in Europe. Europe has tougher standards than NZ, but irrespective of that, for mine to be legal that had to be sent to a lab in Nelson at a cost of $70,000 so I could receive a certificate stating they are safe. What a barrier to entry is that! And nonsensical too. None of them have blown up.
- Noodle Canteen came to me panic stricken one day because they had received a demand from the council. They can’t read english so I help them sort out their mail sometimes. The demand was that they need to fix a hairline crack on one the tiles in the dry storage area that was found on the last inspection. We moved a box over it and haven’t heard anything more. We are just lucky I’m sure that the crack has not tainted the won tons.
- When I was a bit younger I rented a coffee cart and got to work selling coffee. I wanted to start selling chilli dogs. So tasty and fast to put together. Unfortunately council said I needed not just one wash basin with hot and cold running water, but two. This made it uneconomic to do it legally. I used disposable gloves and utensils like a responsible vendor would and did them my way. No one died.
- I got some water contraptions over from China a while ago (that turned out to be a catastrofuck of a business idea haha) and wanted to rent them out and sell them. A surfboard with a jet unit to be precise*. Anyway, Oriental Pde. beach was my spot. Was I allowed to turn up in the morning with my trundle and put on some on some entertainment and make some dollars while at school? You bet your bottom dollar I wasn’t! No commerce allowed. Why, you ask? Risk! I got around that letting people use them for Koha instead. I earned more money renting them than I did selling those bastards- I couldn’t supply spare parts which put a lot of people off. Lesson learnt and no one died.Thats me. *
Honestly, what is the point of having these arse-covering rules. It just puts people off ideas that could otherwise support a good local economy. Its not the kiwi way. Where is the number 8?
People will say: “Oh well Theus what is the point of having any rules at all if thats your view?!”
Well, this is where a bit of common sense can be injected into government.
I propose a new Act in parliament that supersedes all regulations surrounding business operations, health and safety, and home renovations. It is titled “The Upham-Hillary-Crump-Skipper Act of 2015”. It stipulates that:
“If a given activity was proposed to these three men; Charles Upham, Edmond Hillary and Barry Crump, and if then it could be determined by a panel of all living All Black captains that these great forefathers would give- on the balance of probabilities- the “green light” if they were still alive, then the activity must be allowed to take place. “
This would be a fantastic thing and a win for New Zealand.
A cracked tile does not warrant a threat to close a shop. The odd mouse is part of life. If you buy a solar panel you should be able to put it on your bloody roof without a permit or lab test needed. Food licensing requirements are over-egged- natural selection takes care of any bad food operators. Renting out a toy on the beach a no-no? Really?
A team effort is needed here. Maybe the papers could start by not pumping out sob stories from the victimhood club that encourage lilly livered beauracrats inventing a new rule or guideline somewhere to protect all the idiots out there.
I am sure everyone has some similar stories- please share.