Sense of humour very important

KEITH WILLIAMS: 'I'm off to the Sounds to go fishing with the family.'
KEITH WILLIAMS: 'I'm off to the Sounds to go fishing with the family.'

With the year all but over, The Timaru Herald reflects with some of the newsmakers.

It's been a big year for Waimate businessman Keith Williams.

In fact, it's been a big couple of years - and he's looking forward to another big one in 2014.

Mr Williams took on the Waimate District Council this year over a disputed building consent issue, and won.

But it wasn't a decisive win as the legal bills are still mounting.

The matter is still subject to an investigation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The ministry has put out two draft determinations and recently held a meeting with the parties.

Mr Williams remains quiet about the case.

The legal wrangle began in 2010 when he and his company were each charged with failing to apply for a certificate of acceptance and failing to comply with a notice to fix after he did "urgent" work on his building.

The case was thrown out when the council went to court last year.

Mr Williams was awarded $80,000 costs in June by the Timaru District Court and, following a High Court appeal, a further $66,300 in a decision issued in November.

"Interesting - it's been interesting," he said of 2013. "It's all been so unnecessary."

Without going into more detail, Mr Williams described the whole thing as "just stupid".

"It's a matter of common sense. It's a ridiculous situation: a lack of common sense and good will."

He planned to take some time off with family at his holiday home in Portage over the Christmas period.

But he retains a sense of humour. "You've got to have a pretty pragmatic attitude, an integrity - this is what it comes down to.

"You're stuffed if you haven't got a sense of humour. I'm not going to comment further on the case; I'm off to the Sounds to go fishing with the family."

The Timaru Herald