One of the three Waihopai spy base attackers has welcomed the prospect of a $1.1 million Crown damages claim, saying the trio have less than $1000 between them.

Otaki school teacher Adrian Leason said even if the Crown won a lawsuit, it would have trouble getting the money.

"If they are going after Father Peter, Sam and myself, our combined personal wealth is probably under $1000.

"Peter's got some loose change, I think I've got $400 in my bank account, and Sam, I think he keeps his money under his mattress and it's only a matter of hundreds."

Mr Leason, Auckland Catholic priest Peter Murnane and Hokianga farmer Sam Land admitted damaging the Government's satellite station at Waihopai, near Blenheim.

But they argued their cutting through fences and slashing a plastic cover protecting the eavesdropping satellite dish was lawful as they believed the surveillance tool contributed to human suffering.

A jury acquitted them last month after a trial in Wellington.

Solicitor-General David Collins, QC, said yesterday the Crown had no grounds to appeal against the verdicts, but would consider civil proceedings "to seek judgment for the $1.1 million damage caused by their actions".

Mr Leason - who lives with his partner and their seven children on a 2ha family trust-owned block on the outskirts of Otaki, in Horowhenua - said the possibility of a $1.1 million damages claim held no fear for him.

There was "a little bit of a sense of bad losers or cry babies" about the Crown move.

"In many ways it would be a real gift to us. It would keep up the profile of the real issue, which is the base's involvement in humanitarian-law breaking, because it would keep the base in the media spotlight."

A senior lawyer said last night the Government should not have too much trouble winning a damages claim against the trio.

All that had to be proved was that damage was caused, and the three men were responsible for it, said John Billington, QC.

That would be easy, as the men had freely admitted damaging the dome.

But even if the Government succeeds in its claim, it can do little to recover the money, short of bankrupting the three men.

Mr Leason was last night sceptical of the claimed $1.1 million cost of repairs.

"We haven't sighted any invoices for the damage," he said. "We have done some research. We think the figure is much closer to $50,000 or $60,000.

"We've made a few inquiries as to alternative providers rather than the American company that they used. I think a Kiwi company was looking at giving us a quote that was significantly cheaper than that."

As well as damaging the inner electric security fences of the base, the three men cut through an outer farm fence.

"We've received an invoice for the farmer's fence," Mr Leason said, "and that's for $200. We're going to reimburse the farmer for that."

The three men were working under the umbrella of the Ploughshares movement, and group spokesman Graham Cameron said it would be interesting to see the legal arguments the Crown might make - and to see security services staff appear in court.

He said the Government Communications Security Bureau, which operates the Waihopai base, had "essentially refused to take a role in this complaint".

"If there is a civil case to answer then surely these guys have a right to face their accuser in relation to these charges."

Mr Billington said it was highly unlikely any security service employees would be called to give evidence, and if they were, their identities would almost certainly be suppressed.

- ADDITIONAL REPORTING: NZPA