A Flaxmere liquor store owner awarded $8000 in court costs won't see the money unless he takes a Hastings District councillor back to court.
Councillor Henare O'Keefe was ordered to pay $8194 in costs in December 2019 to a liquor company which operates Flaxmere Liquor on Swansea Rd.
He has not paid up and says as a matter of principle, he won't.
A leading barrister says that as the money is treated as a debt and not a fine, it leaves the liquor store with the responsibility of chasing it up.
O'Keefe and the late Des Ratima had earlier appealed a decision by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority to renew the store's liquor licence.
The appeal was meant to go before the High Court but the men were unable to secure the appropriate affidavits. That led to O'Keefe being
ordered to pay $8194 in costs to the liquor company.
That money has never been paid and O'Keefe says he has no plans to cough it up.
Barrister Graeme Edgeler said he may never have to.
"It is recoverable as a debt not as a fine."
He said that meant it fell on the party who was awarded the costs to effectively chase up the money starting with a statutory demand then, if that was unsuccessful, taking the matter to court.
"It depends on whether they think it is worth it. They might think this person has no money and could pay $10,000 in legal fees to bankrupt them."
He said in that case a party may choose simply to leave the matter and move on.
Flaxmere Liquor director Sukhpal Singh could not be reached for comment.
O'Keefe said he "absolutely" would not pay any of the costs.
"I am standing on principle," he said.
"Some will think I am dodging or bucking the system ... but maybe one day my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will ask about alcohol and the damage it is causing, and say 'What did you do?'"
"I want to say I made a stand."
Flaxmere Liquor has since made another application to renew its licence and that application is due to go before a licensing committee.
The shop's current licence has expired but it can continue operating while the application process is carried out.
"The standard term for the renewal of an existing licence is three years," a Hastings District Council spokeswoman said.