The freelance cameraman at the centre of the furore over the "teapot tape" faces financial ruin, his lawyer says, with the Attorney-General seeking nearly $14,000 in court costs.
A memorandum has been filed in the Auckland High Court seeking $13,669.45 in costs from Bradley Ambrose after he went to the High Court asking for the conversation between Prime Minister John Key and ACT party Epsom candidate, now MP, John Banks, to be declared public.
Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann rejected Mr Ambrose's request.
Mr Ambrose's lawyer Ron Mansfield says the demand for costs will put unnecessary pressure on the freelance cameraman.
"The costs that the Government is now seeking through Crown Law would be enough to ruin any small to independent contractor in the initial stages of trading. This action presumably reflects the government's position and attitude towards individuals in a position of Mr Ambrose," he told Fairfax New Zealand.
Mr Mansfield said his client took the matter to court to protect his ability to work as a subcontractor - the sole income for his family.
"Mr Ambrose just wants to be able to get on with his work so he can support his family."
The demand for costs would be fought, his lawyer said.
Mr Ambrose has said the recording of the conversation, at a media-staged event in the final weeks of the election campaign, was inadvertent.
He is still waiting to hear from police about whether charges will be laid.
Otago University political analyst Dr Bryce Edwards has labelled the demand for costs "political vindictiveness".