Costs against Ambrose

The Herald reports:

The Government’s demand for court costs from cameraman can only be seen as “political vindictiveness”, according to political analyst Dr Bryce Edwards.

The Attorney-General has filed a memorandum in the High Court at Auckland seeking $13,669.45 in costs from Mr Ambrose after the freelancer sought a declaration from the High Court on whether the “tea tape” conversation was private.

I disagree with Bryce on this one, and think he has overlooked a crucial factor.

First of all I would note that no one forced Mr Ambrose to file a lawsuit. He chose to do so, and presumably knew the chance of success was minimal, as a ruling would have undermined the Police investigation. Lawyers I spoke to said the chance of success was less than 1%, and he would have known this.

Otago University political analyst Dr Bryce Edwards told Newstalk ZB the almost $14,000 request is a small amount for the Government, and it was legitimate for Mr Ambrose to try to get a declaratory judgment on whether the conversation recorded between John Key and John Banks was private.

Dr Edwards felt the demand smacks of revenge.

It is standard to seek costs when someone files a lawsuit which forces you to respond, and they lose.

I suspect Bryce sees this as big nasty Government trying to screw over a struggling camera man. But there is no way Ambrose is paying for the court costs. Mediaworks, beyond doubt, bankrolled his court case and will pay the costs, if granted.

Mediaworks is a large commercial company, owned by an even larger one. I see no reasons why the taxpayer should subsidise them, through not claiming costs.

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