A Southland man’s houseboat destined for Lake Dunstan has ignited debate on what constitutes a boat.

Ian Horsham was due to launch his $50,000-plus, 86sq m two-bedroom, one-bathroom houseboat on Lake Dunstan at the weekend, but an 11th-hour council injunction stopped his plans in their tracks.

The houseboat was to have been placed at a mooring site between Pisa Moorings and Lowburn offshore from the New Zealand Motorhome Caravan Association camping ground and used as a holiday home.

Days out from making the journey to Cromwell, a call from the Central Otago District Council (CODC) left his houseboat facing rough waters.

Mr Horsham said the CODC issued an injunction, claiming the houseboat differed from what was described in the consent issued in July.

That was something he disputed.

His plans were dead in the water and he was left working from home to find a solution.

He said he had been working with the Southland District Council to gain a building consent and a certificate of compliance.

Mr Horsham said he was “pissed” and the CODC injunction left him distressed and with sleepless nights.

“They’ve [the council ] had three years and now they come back with this?”

Council documents relating to the application confirm consent were approved by the council’s planning manager in July, subject to standard conditions relating to management of the water and environmental effects.

The vessel was defined as a “boat” under the Central Otago district plan.

CODC regulatory services manager Lee Webster said consent for the mooring had not been revoked. However the structure was outside of the scope of the consent issued.

Council received a resource application to breach rule 5.7.4, in reference to mooring blocks and associated chain and buoy, in the key information of the application, he said.

Consent was issued on the basis a vessel does not require resource or building consent and this was not included in the application.

“As the consent was for a mooring only to which a vessel would be attached, this was granted under delegated authority.”

A complaint raised in January alerted the CODC a structure would be attached to the mooring and not a vessel.

Following confirmation a vessel would not be attached to the consented mooring, Mr Horsham was advised a building consent was required from the consenting authority where it was being constructed, in this case Southland, Mr Webster said.

“As a consequence of that a resource consent was also required and the mooring permit from Linz, which I understand has not been obtained.”

CODC is responsible for the lake surface but ownership of the lake bed lies with Land Information New Zealand (Linz).

Linz head of Crown property Sonya Wikitera confirmed a mooring licence was required before moorings were put in and had anything attached to them.

Linz had received but not yet granted a mooring application, she said.

The agency was aware moorings for the houseboat were in place before the application was received.