Three environmentalists facing a hefty bill for an independent consents hearing have told a court they were acting as part of a group, not as individuals.
Fiona Clark, Robert Taylor and Andrea Moore are appealing at the High Court at New Plymouth against a decision ordering them to pay $12,000 to the Taranaki Regional Council.
The environmentalists signed a submission on behalf of the Friends of the Waitara River asking for an independent hearing into an application to discharge waste water into the sea off the river in 2011.
When the three asked for the review they were told they would have to pay for the hearing, but later refused.
The trio told the court they were acting as Friends of the Waitara River, but the council says it took action against the trio because the group was unincorporated at the time.
Green MP Catherine Delahunty said the council was being mean-spirited and using a technicality about whether the group was incorporated to claim costs against the three individuals.