All over for rebel boatbuilder

03:00, May 15 2014
OVERSTAYER: The houseboat under tow in the Nelson Haven this morning on its way to being dismantled

It's the end of the line for maverick builder Paul Jepson's Nelson houseboat.

At 10.30am this morning the makeshift houseboat in the inner Nelson Haven was taken under tow by the harbourmaster's boat.

Habourmaster Dave Duncan said the houseboat would be lifted out of the water and dismantled at Port Nelson.

There was no sign of Jepson or his supporters when the tow began.

The action follows the expiry on Tuesday of an Environment Court-imposed deadline to remove the structure.

The court deemed the houseboat to be a structure without a resource consent, being used as a dwelling.


Jepson's only observed recent moves have been to have the structure towed from near Boulder Bank Drive at the northern end of the Haven to a spot much closer to the city, just off Queen Elizabeth II drive near the Haven outlet of the Maitai River.

He also defiantly painted "Life will go on long after money" on one wall.

The court ruled that he had to remove it within three weeks or have it confiscated by the council.

He built it last year from drums he obtained for nothing, wooden pallets and recycled corrugated iron.

He has fitted it out with a rainwater collection system, a potbelly stove and a bed, and through a friend has said he is broke and unemployed, and just wants to live quietly and cheaply on board, out of everyone's way.

Council communications manager Angela Ricker earlier confirmed that the council had not had any conversation with the elusive Jepson, who has spurned requests for an interview and once threw stones at a Nelson Mail photographer, when she drew near.