Newly-elected mayor refuses to enter council building
Michael Feyen was elected Mayor of Horowhenua, but he refuses to enter the Horowhenua District Council building to be sworn in.
Mr Feyen believes that the building is an earthquake risk, and has been trying to raise his concerns as a councillor for the past two years.
Now that he's mayor-elect he is demanding that an independent structural engineer inspect the building.
"I've never been comfortable going into that building. It makes the hairs go up on the back of my neck," Mr Feyer said.
"It's been bloody hard. I feel like crying. Straight up."
Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton said that further inspection of the building is not necessary, and that two previous assessments have found that the building was not earthquake-prone.
Mr Feyen says that nobody went onsite for those assessments, but Mr Clapperton disputes this and says that there has been robust analysis of both the plans and the building.
"I can categorically say that building is safe and sound," Mr Clapperton said.
The engineers who designed the council building also reject Mr Feyen's claims and say that if he has any reliable evidence he should supply it.
Mr Feyen will likely be sworn and conduct his first council meeting at Levin's library Te Takere, which was designed by the same engineers as the council building.
Despite this Mr Feyen feels safe going inside, but he says he won't feel safe inside in the council building until it is assessed again.