New Zealand. Where bureaucrats make things hard

You have to wonder why councils exist. Is it to make life hard to open a  business?

In Tokoroa, it certainly seems so.

Disagreement with a local council over an exposed beam in a new Tokoroa restaurant and bar continues to prevent its opening.

South Waikato District Council staff met with Wawa Eatery, in Bridge St, owner Lorraine Young last Monday over the issue.

Young has spent several months setting up the business with a trendy industrial theme.

She is now ready to open but the council is refusing to let her due to an exposed beam above the bar area potentially catching dust and falling into drinks.  

WTF! The dust is floating around in the air anyway. Who writes these regulations?

During the meeting Young said the council also highlighted issues with a staff sink and the exclusion of a door into the kitchen area which was in the original plan. Issues which she said can be worked through easily enough.

She said the main issue, however, continues to surround the exposed beam which the council has said must be covered.

Despite exposed beams being common in restaurants throughout the country and not being questioned when the South Waikato District Council granted its initial consent, the council continues to stay firm on its decision.

Communications manager Kerry Fabrie said the council must abide by Food Hygiene Regulations which under Schedule 1 (Requirements for registration for premises), clause 4 (ceiling b) it states ‘all trusses shall be completely enclosed’.

Young continues to dispute this and said “discretion can be used” when it comes to interpreting the regulation as other council’s have done. She has now taken the matter to the Ministry of Primary Industries to have the decision overturned.

“[The council’s] environmental health manager John Anderson has said to me if MPI come back and say it could be left uncovered he would still not allow it. It is just ridiculous,” she said.

Communications manager Kerry Fabrie said officers are delegated the authority to perform their duties as per legislation.

“In this case, there are various reasons why the officer has chosen not to use discretion and has advised MPI accordingly. It is not appropriate that the council detail these concerns through the media,” she said.

“It is the view of the authorised officer that, based on history and experience, enclosing the beam is the only appropriate mitigation of risk.”

A risk of what? A bit of dust miraculously floating down and possibly landing in a drink? Oh puuulease.

Someone needs firing. Start with the little nazi clipboard-wielding cocksmoker at the council.


– Fairfax


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