Is it a house or is it a boat? Aramoana man's stoush with council over his home

A Dunedin man is seeking clarification from a government department after he was told the structure he's been building and living in requires consent. 

The Aramoana resident 'Just Doi' claims he's building a boat but the Dunedin City Council (DCC) says that's a description that just doesn't float.

Mr Doi is taking the council to task over their classification of the structure he's been building for the last decade.

He says he told the council he was building a boat.  The problem lies not with the structure itself but the fact it is considered a building and doesn't have consent. 

"It's a considerable waste of time and money," Mr Doi says. 

Mr Doi has spent $50,000 building the boat with 25 tonnes of ballast under its wooden floor planks.

The boat has a cast iron fireplace, a staircase with ropes and a kitchen with a stove.

"All the cupboard doors have got double snibs on them so pots don't end up all over the kitchen floor."

Mr Doi, a self-taught builder, is confident the structure will float. He hopes to one day sail the wooden and concrete structure out at sea.

"Everything is tied down. As you can see, nothing's going to come loose.

"Certainly it would look bloody stupid if it didn't [float]." 

The DCC say what Mr Doi has built himself is not a boat but a building, issuing him with two notices to fix it and get building consent.

DCC Principal Advisor Building Solutions Neil McLeod says Mr Doi has applied to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for a determination as to whether the structure is a boat or a building. The final determination has yet to be provided.

"The DCC's concern is that building work has been carried out without building consent," Mr McLeod told Newshub.

But Mr Doi claims he is being targeted unfairly by the Council.

"We've got a housing crisis in New Zealand. I'm providing my own house. We've got sea levels rising, there's flooding issues, and I'm dealing with that too - not asking for help."

Mr Doi is seeking help from MBIE, asking them to intervene and decide just what the structure should be classified as. 

In a statement, MBIE manager determinations Katie Gordon told Newshub they've carried out a site visit but further assessment is required before their decision is made public.