Horowhenua Mayor Michael Feyen has failed to recover costs associated with his continued quest for an engineering report to back up his belief that the Horowhenua District Council building is unsafe.

Feyen had brought proceedings with HDC to the Disputes Tribunal in Palmerston North in an attempt to recover costs of engineering reports he had sought into the building's construction.

He had long feared the building, which officially opened in 2007, was unsafe and prone to collapse in an earthquake.

There are now four building reports. HDC had met the costs associated with the original two reports, one by OPUS in July, 2014, and another by ISPS, released in March 2016, requested by Feyen as a peer review.


Feyen sought more reports himself, from Structural Concepts and Koru VSL, with the understanding he was to foot the bill himself.

But he chased HDC for the money, and billed his own council for costs associated with the third and fourth reports, conducted in late 2016 and early 2017.

In the tribunal order, released on Wednesday, referee G.P. Rossiter found there was no basis on which Feyen "could contend that he had an agreement with the Horowhenua District Council to be reimbursed".

"A contract is an agreement between two or more parties involving, generally, promises between those parties for the exchange of things (goods or services) of value," it said.

Rossiter's decision said Feyen appeared to acknowledge there was no such agreement, and did not agree with his claims that HDC had "used" the report upon its release, as it would have been "quite extraordinary" if it hadn't.

"There is no tenable basis for contending or arguing a liability...on the respondent council to reimburse the applicant for the cost of the report referred to in his claim."

"There is, therefore, no proper or sufficient basis for the claim to proceed further to a full hearing."

Feyen had 28 days to appeal the decision.

It is not known the exact amount of money Feyen is claiming, but in a letter to HDC in April detailing the reasons for his claim he had totalled an amount of $50,031.29.


That sum was broken down to Structural Concepts ($18,630, Koru VSL ($8599.13) and legal expenses of $7802.16.

There was a further claim of $15,000 as a "contribution towards providing professional writing, research and investigation services" over a period of three years.

However, the tribunal only heard claims of less than $15,000, or up to $20,000 in exceptional circumstances.

The integrity of the building was an issue for Feyen before he began his mayoralty three years ago.

In 2016, Feyen and councillor Ross Campbell had posted online a video of themselves underneath the council building in the carpark. Cracks in the concrete floor showed the building was unsafe, he had claimed.

When approached today Feyen said he had no comment.