Talk is cheap, and this guy's critics have spent a fortune.

This is a smart move. His lawyer says Ambrose has been slandered and vilified by some in the National Party operating in election mode. They’ve treated him as if he had no reputation to defend.

With loose language about Ambrose’s actions being ‘illegal’ and ‘unethical’ being relentlessly squirted at him … by increasingly desperate-sounding National apparatchiks — including failed National candidates working in the media — and various partisan spin doctors (amateur and professional) … it makes total sense to seek a declaratory judgement. The smear would become reality if left unchallenged, and the stakes for Ambrose personally are way out of proportion.

Good on him.

Journalist takes tea tape saga to court

Kirsty Johnston, Andrea Vance, Danya Levy and Michelle Cooke 17/11/11

The cameraman at the centre of the tea tapes saga, Bradley Ambrose, has filed proceedings with the Auckland High Court in an attempt to clear his name.

Ambrose’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said he was seeking a declaratory judgement as to whether the conversation which took place between Prime Minister John Key and Act candidate John Banks was private. Ambrose has denied the recording was intentional.

If a judgement was made saying the meeting was not private, police would be unable to prosecute.

“He’s needed to take this action because the National Party in particular has been describing his conduct as unlawful and unethical,” Mansfield said.

“This is obviously damaging his reputation and ability to work.”

Key complained to police earlier this week that his meeting with ACT’s Epsom candidate John Banks at an Auckland cafe on Friday had been illegally recorded by Ambrose.

Police said today four media outlets would be searched under warrant for material relating to the meeting and subsequent interviews with Ambrose.

Mansfield said the court action was to protect his client.

“Work is all that he has. So rather than be political fodder and not being able to respond he’s done what’s responsible and gone to the court to seek a ruling.”

“Why should he wait and not be able to pay his bills because it’s convenient to the Government?”

Mansfield said Ambrose was yet to be contacted by police. As the proceeding was now before the court he would make no further comment. …