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Is it a boat or is it a house - a government department now has to decide.
Last year, the Dunedin City Council issued Aramoana man Just Doi with a notice to fix because it considered what he is building himself and living in is a building not a boat.
Therefore, consent is required.
Mr Doi started the structure on another property in Aramoana about 10 years ago.
He was also issued a notice to fix by the council at the time.
He has applied to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to determine whether the structure is a boat or a building.
A determination is a legally binding ruling made by MBIE about matters of doubt or dispute on building work.
There has been no answer yet. But if the structure is a boat, Mr Doi will be given a ``reasonable'' amount of time to make it seaworthy.
Mr Doi is adamant the structure - it has cost him about $50,000 - is a boat and he wants the council to leave him alone so he can complete it.
The self-described ``aged hippy'' admits he has no formal naval architectural training but is self taught and confident the structure will float once finished.
``I don't have a television so I spend my nights learning this stuff and I'm pretty confident I've got all my calculations correct and the naval architect MBIE sent down will agree with me that it's a boat.''
Inside is a full kitchen, or galley as he describes it, a shower, fireplace, a staircase, a lounge and a bedroom.
It also has temporary windows, which he said would make way for the port holes.
There will also be a captain's deck with steering wheel and the completed hull will be lined with concrete.
The structure has become a tourist attraction in the coastal settlement, Mr Doi said.
Curious onlookers supported the cause.
``They all say of course it's a boat. Just look at it.''
MBIE determinations manager Katie Gordon said the ministry was considering whether the structure was a boat or building for the purpose of the Building Act.
A site visit was part that process.
As the determination was a quasi-judicial process which required further assessment before the outcome was made public, MBIE would not comment any further.
Council building solutions principal adviser Neil McLeod said the council's concern was that building work had been carried out without building consent.
As the determination had not yet been made it was not appropriate to comment further at this stage, Mr McLeod said.