Mobile Homes in the News

Below is a growing list of links to news stories. Note that almost all refer to “tiny homes”.  This adds to the confusion because DIY homes plonked in incompatible neighbourhoods do cause social conflict that ends up with council intervention. The dozens of mobile homes that get deployed every month throughout the country do not make the news and until recently their manufacturers had no interaction or conflict with local councils. This list will grow as new stories are published and old ones found.

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11 Oct 2013 – Labour’s call for a cross party approach to ending homelessness by 2020. 

Labour’s call for a cross party approach to ending homelessness by 2020.

World Homelessness Day was marked with a parliamentary breakfast cohosted by Jacinda Adern [sic], Labour MP and Denise Roche, Green Party MP. Both MPs complimented community organisations throughout New Zealand trying to meet the basic human right of homeless people to be housed.”

It’s 2020 and homelessness is worse than ever. The cross party approach of Labour/Greens has held the reins of power for 3 year with the same Jacinda Ardern elevated from List MP to Prime Minister. But the Government is saying “the building of tiny homes, including mobile homes, is not an option that is not [sic] currently being pursued by the Government(read it here)

State Housing Waiting List as of May 2020


Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015 Dec 2016 Dec 2017 Dec 2018 Dec 2019 MAY 2020
3,668 3,658 4,619 6,110 6,182 10,712 14,869 17,982
-0- -10 +961 +1,491 +72 +4,530 +4,157 +3,113 (6 mo)

Economic and Social Research Aotearoa recently commented: “The need for public housing extends well beyond the waitlist to those who are in unaffordable and substandard private rentals, the working poor who are not eligible, and those who are otherwise eligible but have been deterred by the complicated nature of application process. If we take the definition of homelessness to include those living on the streets, in cars, on couches, in garages, and in overcrowded houses the homeless population extends well beyond this waitlist

Jacinda Ardern in 2013
Jacinda Ardern in 2020

Tiny home rules to be made clearer under new Government guidelines 

Tiny homes could be easier to build after a Government review that aims to smooth out “challenges” and confusion over existing rules.

Marlborough Council

Tiny home at centre of complex court dispute in Marlborough 

Having lost the Dall case, government officials are now saying they are waiting on Judge Zohrab’s decision. This smacks of bad governance where elected officials are abdicating their role to a case with messy facts, when the core issue asks “what is a building?”

Marlborough Council

Marlborough Council 

Neighbours rat out ‘ugly’ tiny homes

Despite what the officials say, it’s rarely about health and safety,  It is a clash of culture when the comfortable class living in “nice” neighbourhoods have someone move in next door who cannot afford a nice home but can afford a tiny home.


Trying to build legally leaves tiny home couple ‘worse off’

Tasman Council shows up in the news multiple times. It appears to be one of the more aggressive councils.


A. Dall

GUARDIAN: Good thing for small packages: tiny homes movement wins big in New Zealand

A. Dall

Movable vehicle is not a building: Victory for tiny homes in landmark case 

On 26 Sept 2018, Alan Dall was issued a notice to fix by the Hurunui Council. It took until 19 February 2020 to have that notice set aside by Judge Callaghan. The judge reversed MBIE saying that Dall’s unit was a vehicle, not a building and it was “not immovable” (meaning it was mobile). This case never should have been necessary. MBIE called it “slightly turning the dial”. It was not. It was illegal regulatory creep that had severe adverse impact on the industry. Councils cited it whilst it was under appeal. NZTA sent it to MHA when asked about specialist overdimension motor vehicles. It is a disgrace.

Government spends almost $100 million on emergency housing in nine months

GUARDIAN: All sectors of New Zealand housing market ‘severely’ unaffordable: survey

Eleanor Ainge Roy Mon 20 Jan 2020 01.27 GMT

Tiny home debate: ‘If it’s not secured to the ground it’s not a building’

DAVOS: Tiny homes: minimalist trend or economic necessity?

Matt Davis Writer, The Big Think 07 Oct 2019

Marlborough Council 
Fred Uhrle, 76

Six-month tiny house dispute leaves elderly Marlborough man living in limbo

Sophie Trigger 05:00, Sep 02 2019

The next four stories should be read as one. Jono Voss had a friend whose home was damaged in the earthquake. Voss agreed to help rebuild it, but had no accomodation. So he proposed to first make a tiny home on wheels on the property. When the work on the damaged building was completed, Voss intended to tow the unit away. While Voss was doing so, Hutt Council threw the book at him, charging him with violations based on the assertion that the unit was a building. They took him to court and lost. The judge did not get to the merits of the case because he said Hutt Council “mucked it up”. See the 14 Feb 2020 story above ( Hutt City Council ‘mucked up’…  ). The outrage in this case is more than how Voss was treated. It is the much deeper problem of government inconsistency and loss of common sense. The Hutt region has a severe affordable housing and emergency housing crisis. Voss is part of the solution, not the problem. Yet at the same time, another branch of MBIE – Civil Defence – sees the need for units that are the same as what Voss made. Mobile trailer homes that will be parked on the private sections of earthquake-damaged homes for the time it takes to make the building safe. MBIE ordered ten units from the mobile home industry and then issued themselves exemptions so they would not become entangled with the Building Act. If Voss was a wealthy, entitled person, he would have a QC make mincemeat of the government. If he employed public relations media representatives, the government would be in full retreat mode – although in reality, at the first hint of such pushback, they would kick it up to a higher level and quietly retract their notices to fix and abatement orders. The problem is that Voss is not wealthy, entitled or powerful. He has enough friends that they kicked in for a lawyer, and for now (March 2020) the council is evaluating its next step. But overall, this is a condemnation of the dysfunction that has become the norm in this industry. It needs to stop. Especially now, with Covid-19 destroying the economy, and Finance Minister, the Hon Grant Robertson saying the post-lockdown economy is going to be tough, unemployment will soar and the entire domestic economic structure of New Zealand could need rethinking.  

Government forking out millions for emergency housing in Lower Hutt

Govt accused of hypocrisy after ordering its own batch of tiny home on wheels

Tiny home builder Jono Voss left feeling ‘like an idiot’ as multi-agency resource consent fight rages on 

National housing shortage is not easy to solve – just ask Lower Hutt–just-ask-lower-hutt?rm=a

Motueka man in battle with council over Tiny House  

Tiny house maker facing uncertain future from Waimakariri District Council

Tiny houses could become ‘glorified beer fridges’ as council plans building code crackdown

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