It’s Thursday morning, and I have been summoned to assist in sorting a crisis down at the viaduct.
I leave home, and briskly head on over through my secret network of shortcuts. As I cut through Gropecunt Park* I notice a towering Pohutukawa tree in a neighbouring back yard.
Easily over 100 years old, the tree has an impressive spread of branches, and sitting high up in the crown is a tree-house accessed via a mini-ladder. Truly the stuff childhood fantasies are made of.
There would be a volcanic eruption and bright orange popsicle-like lava would snake its way through my school. The only path to safety is for me to lead my friends up the ladder into the tree-house. There, to our horror, we see that the hot lava has some how defrosted an angry tyrannosaurus now terrorizing my teachers, and the rest of the school. I macgyver some bow and arrows dipped in the sedative poisen of the pohutukawa nectar, and shoot it down.
Just as I’m about to save my school, there is a knock on the treehouse door. It’s a council inspector. He wants to know if I have a permit for the treehouse.
According to the 2004 Building Act, every construction higher than 1.2m now requires a building consent, including the tree-house.
I am told, because it’s just a small construction, I only need to have applied for a minor building permit as it probably cost less than $2000 to build. The cost for the permit is $700, and would include three thorough inspections to ensure the treehouse is safe, and we don’t plummet to a hot lavary death.
I don’t have a permit. My options are to get a code of compliance, at a cost of $900, or to dismantle it.
Shoot, I didn’t realize I could have exposed myself and my friends to so much danger. As I don’t have $900, I best dismantle it.
So, now our only path to safety is to climb the actual tree. But surely that’s even more dangerous. It’s slippery, there’s no ladder, and no platform. I best build a fence around the tree, to ensure neither I nor my friends can climb it, as they might fall and I’d be liable.
But hang on, that would require a permit, as the fence would be more than 1.2m in height. And besides, my friends could probably still find a way to scale it.
It would be best to chop down the tree, and maybe all trees in the neighbourhood, just to be safe. But wait, that requires a resource consent, because they’re taller than 6m.
Argh, my childhood fantasies are morphing into bureaucratic adult reality.
And it isn’t anywhere as exciting as I thought it would be.
*Park name changed to protect tree-house builders