A group of 33 senior health researchers and scientists are calling for an investigation into whether former National MP Katherine Rich was associated with attacks on public health specialists while she was meant to be promoting the Government's health messages.
The group has signed and sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key, asking him to look into allegations contained in Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics about Mrs Rich, who is a member of the Government's Health Promotion Agency (HPA). Mrs Rich has denied any wrongdoing.
The book raises questions about her association with Carrick Graham, a public relations specialist allegedly linked to posts on the Whale Oil blog that malign Doug Sellman, the director of the National Addictions Centre.
"Despite many opportunities to refute the allegations, Mrs Rich has chosen neither to deny nor to disprove these," the letter says.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The group wants Mrs Rich to be sacked from the HPA if there is any truth to the allegations.
The letter also asks Mr Key to look into any conflicts of interest. Mrs Rich is chief executive of the Food & Grocery Council, which represents the interests of food, beverage and grocery corporates. In a statement, Mrs Rich said she had no intention of resigning from the HPA.
"I have not been involved in any campaign that has undermined the public health of Kiwis, and I find any such suggestion very offensive."
She did not specifically address the allegations in the book that she was associated with Carrick Graham.