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Tea tape cameraman takes case to court

Published: 11:39AM Thursday November 17, 2011 Source: ONE News

The cameraman at the centre of the teapot tape controversy is seeking a court ruling on whether the conversation between John Key and John Banks was private.

Bradley Ambrose's lawyer filed civil proceedings at the High Court in Auckland today.

The action comes as the teapot saga continues.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters revealed earlier today what he said was more detail about the cup of tea conversation as police also contacted media organisations demanding they hand over unpublished news material on the case.

TVNZ and Radio New Zealand are among the media contacted by police but neither have handed over any material. Search warrants are expected to be served within the next couple of days.

Officers are investigating the cup of tea recording involving National Party leader John Key and Act candidate John Banks after Key laid a complaint earlier this week.

He has refused to reveal what was said during the conversation at a cafe in Epsom last week but New Zealand First leader Peters today gave a speech in Invercargill in which he revealed what he claims is more information from the tapes.

He made a number of claims, which TVNZ cannot verify as it has not heard the tape, but gave no detail of how he obtained the information.

The claims included a suggestion that Banks told Key during the Epsom meeting that Don Brash is "a strange fellow". Key is said to have replied: "Yes, we've been down that road before."

According to Peters, Key told Banks he wanted former president Catherine Isaac to be the next Act Leader and he also said NZ First's supporters are "dying".

Key said he expects National to get a high enough percentage of the vote in next week's election to govern alone, Peters said.

The National leader refused to discuss the police moves today, saying that was a matter for them, while Labour leader Phil Goff said it was "ridiculous" and said Key should "come clean".

The RNZ material in question is an interview the radio station conducted with the cameraman, Brad Ambrose, who made the recording.
Ambrose claims the recording was accidental.

TVNZ has been told by police that they will seek a search warrant in order to obtain raw field vision of the cup of tea meeting.

TVNZ has not handed over any material, and says police will need to follow procedure and present the company with a search warrant for the relevant material and it would consider its position again at that stage.

"They need to convince the judge that the material is relevant to their investigation," TVNZ newsgathering editor Cliff Joiner said.

RNZ's head of news Don Rood said the station has also refused to hand over any material gathered by news staff, and that the news organisation will always protect its sources.

Police have told Rood that they will get a search warrant for RNZ and execute it on Thursday or Friday.

The station says it does not have a copy of the original tape at the centre of the complaint.

It is reported that police will seek evidence from several news organisations. TV3 says it has been approached by police, but no search warrant has been issued. Meanwhile, The Herald on Sunday has not heard from police on the matter.