“TEACUP TAPE CASE DOES NOT INVOLVE ATTORNEY GENERAL” PETERS
New Zealand First says the Attorney General cannot claim court costs from a free lance cameraman over the teacup tape court case because the case does not involve the government – just the National and Act parties.
Rt. Hon Winston Peters says legal wires have been crossed by the case because it was mistakenly taken up by the government’s own legal system when it should have simply involved lawyers for John Key and John Banks.
“This case happened during an election campaign when the National Party leader met an Act party candidate to stitch up a deal for the Epsom electorate. It had nothing to do with an affair of state or anything related to the office of prime minister.
What has happened is that the National Party, acting for political purposes, is using taxpayer resources to have a fight with a private citizen.
This is abuse of power and it is also illegal.
Our advice to the cameraman is to ignore the Attorney General’s demand for court costs and to make a claim himself against John Key and John Banks, who in this matter are simply private citizens.” says Mr. Peters.
There's just one slight problem for Peters; he's completely and utterly wrong!
Check out the decision at this link. The heading of the decision reads like this (with our emphasis added):
IN THE HIGH COURT OF NEW ZEALAND
UNDER The Declaratory Judgments Act 1908
BETWEEN BRADLEY CHRISTOPHER GEOFFREY AMBROSE Plaintiff
AND THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL Defendant
Hearing: 22 November 2011
Oh dear. We thought that Winston Peters was a lawyer, but he seems to have failed to understand this case completely. Bradley Ambrose sought a judgment against the Attorney-General under the Declatpry Judgments Act 1908. Ambrose is identified as the plaintiff, and the Attorney-General is identified as the defendant.
So Winston Peters' holiday media release is not worth the paper it's written on. The Attorney-General could hardly have been more involved in this hearing, given that he was the defendant in the matter before the High Court. Bradley Ambrose sought a judgment against the Attorney-General, and failed, and it is solely as a result of Ambrose's application for a Declaratory Judgment that the Attorney-General became involved!
As we have said previously, we don't have any problem with the Crown seeking costs against Ambrose; after all, the Solicitor-General had to mount a defence against Ambrose's attempt to circumvent the criminal justice system. The application for costs against Ambrose is anything but an "abuse of power" in our bush-lawyer opinion; it is a legitimate claim for the costs of defending vexatious legislation.
So if Winston Peters is so worried about the application for costs against Ambrose, perhaps he should chip in a cash contribution. After all; he owes his seat in Parliament to Bradley Ambrose, doesn't he.