One of the three men accused of attacking the Waihopai spy base near Blenheim in 2008 has told a jury about his lifelong involvement in community activism.
Adrian Leason, Father Peter Murnane and Sam Land are charged with intentional damage and entering a property with intent to commit a crime.
Mr Leason told the Wellington District Court he was working in Bangkok shortly before the Iraq war began and was struck by the contrast between the slum he lived in and the money put into the war.
"And we could see the billions of dollars in moving all the weapons into place - the aircraft carriers, the frigates, the war planes - tens, hundreds of billions of dollars being poured into the buildup; and here we were with poverty around us and the sense of the terrible waste of those resources that something useful ... could have been done with them."
Mr Leason said he and his family also protested against the war outside the US Embassy in Bangkok.