22 Jul 2014

Taskforce to tackle 'loopy' rules

4:06 pm on 22 July 2014

Local Government Minister Paula Bennett is to introduce a taskforce to tackle what she describes as "loopy" rules and regulations which frustrate property owners and councils.

Paula Bennett

Paula Bennett Photo: RNZ

The Rules Reduction Taskforce will begin work in October this year with local government and the public to weed out what Ms Bennett calls pedantic and unnecessary rules.

She said there were rules dictating all sorts of things from signage over cake stalls to where your shower curtains need to be positioned.

Ms Bennett said regulations had been brought in over the decades that were well intentioned but ended up being confusing, onerous and costly, while failing to deliver any real benefit.

"I think it's unintentional a lot of times, I think it's all you know with the right intentions of safety and everything else in mind, but it's built up over time and I reckon it's choking this country and some of the stuff we should be able to do."

Ms Bennett said the country had become more and more risk averse, and as a consequence it was stifling New Zealanders from getting on and doing common sense stuff.

The Taskforce is expected to be up and running in October and will include central and local government experts and specialists from the building and trades sector.

Ms Bennett said a website would be set up where people could send examples of the 'loopy rules' and the taskforce would hear submissions from the public on areas ripe for change.

Move backed by registered builders

The Registered Master Builders group is backing a Government move to weed out so-called loopy rules and regulations.

The Government says well-intentioned rules can be outdated and onerous as well as costly and confusing.

It's setting up a Rules Reduction Taskforce to take a closer look at what rules there are. It will include specialists from the building and trades sectors.

Master Builders chief executive Warwick Quinn said the sector complied with strange rules because it was too hard to argue them.

He said it looked like the taskforce would focus on rules that local authorities put in place which seem to make sense at the time, but over time they see to be a bit odd.

Mr Quinn said the taskforce was a good move and he would be encouraging builders to submit the problems they have had.

Meanwhile, local authorities are also broadly supporting the crackdown.

But Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said a lot of the rules people complained about were government ones. He said anything that took away rules of no value should be applauded.