You've seen him on John Campbell Live, heard him on National Radio, and read about him in this paper. He's the calmly spoken risk and policy analyst who has set himself up as the expert voice of opposition in the vexed debate about meningococcal B.

The media willingly quotes him. Parents, desperate to make the right decision, turn to him as an authority. But should they?

Despite a four-year campaign against the MeNZB vaccination programme, Law hasn't got one medical expert to publicly back him.

He credits his work with helping to dissuade 150,000 families from vaccinating their kids. So it's no surprise that the Ministry of Health says Law is putting children at risk.

Is he really public health enemy No 1? Or is the entire medical profession, from your neighbourhood GP to the Director General of Health, complicit in a conspiracy to waste $250 million of public money and risk the lives of our kids - all to save face?

It sounds too ridiculous, but that's what Law proposes: Every individual is either too intimidated by the ministry to speak up, or too embarrassed to admit they've made a mistake.

There were questions early on from organisations such as the Auckland District Health Board about the value of spending $200 million on the campaign to vaccinate everyone under 20 against meningococcal B.

But Law and his sidekick, freelance journalist Barbara Sumner Burstyn, have attacked the vaccine's efficacy. Law even goes so far as to suggest children have died from it - a claim for which there is no evidence at all.

So who is Ron Law and what really is his beef?

The 53-year-old father of three calls himself a risk and policy analyst, with an expert understanding of biochemistry and risk management. That, he reckons, qualifies him to analyse ministry data and conclude that the vaccination programme is a con.

He insists the facts speak for themselves. The ministry, he says, is patently wrong.

This is not the first time Law has come up against the ministry. His fight against MeNZB should be viewed in the context of his decades-long fight against health officials, the medical profession and officialdom per se.

"Ever since I was a trainee med lab scientist I used to challenge the medical system," he says. "I realised one day there are two kinds of doctors - there is the GP who knows bugger all about a lot and the specialist who knows a lot about bugger all."

By his own admission he has a serious and long-held dislike of the ministry. He battled it as head of the Supplements Trade Association when it fought moves to tie the industry into a joint Australia/New Zealand regulatory body; he invented a needle-prick injury device that the ministry "bashed on the head"; he pushed it for 10 years to add folic acid to food to prevent birth defects; he wanted the ministry to spend more on preventing medical injuries; and fought for the bee industry in moves to remove ministry warnings on bee product packages. He has pushed and prodded against the ministry for decades.

Is his fight against MeNZB part of a personal campaign?

"You can ask that question," he says. "There may be a valid rationale for asking that. But again, if we were just writing opinion that's one thing, but the fact is we're referencing our work and providing the public with data the ministry has not made available."

Along with Sumner Burstyn he accuses the ministry of a complex web of conspiracies and agendas which have foisted an inadequately tested vaccine on to children despite the fact (they say) that MeNZB epidemic was waning naturally.

Law grew up in Tomarata, near Wellsford, north of Auckland, leaving school to train as a laboratory scientist in a five-year apprenticeship that included three years of part-time study at a polytechnic.

Later, he went on to do a short computer course, a bachelors degree in theology and a masters in business.

As his career progressed, he says, he honed expertise in risk management. His own research into death and risks made his ears prick up when the MeNZB campaign was announced.

"We kept being told this was a horrendous disease killing a zillion New Zealanders, blah, blah, and if we don't hit it on the head we are all going to die.

"I thought, gosh, it didn't register in my mind as being one of the high-risk things."

What happened, he says, was the ministry was captured by people with agendas who had a drug to sell. The next thing Cabinet had approved a $200 million vaccination campaign, against all evidence that it was needed, and quite probably, he says, risking lives in the process.

But why would so many people, including the Director General of Health, all of them charged with minding the public's health, involve themselves in such a con? "They're defending their position."

At the expense of the public? "Well they've got to defend their decision don't they, because they can't admit that they were wrong."

Many would say it's too far-fetched to suggest all these highly educated people would save face at the expense of children's lives. "Basically what happened was everybody agreed it was a good idea and if anybody disagreed they got cast aside."

So it's been left to Law and Sumner Burstyn to expose this "con". Unfortunately, he says, he keeps being discredited for his lack of qualifications.

Just ask John Forman of the Organisation for Rare Disorders: "[Quoting Law] is the equivalent of giving high and continued prominence to the views of committed marxists on the stock exchange, the animal rights group on medical research, or the Wizard of Christchurch on census matters."

So why doesn't he have someone with the right credentials leading his campaign?

"I'm a medical laboratory scientist with 20 years' experience in clinical biochemistry. I've been studying medical literature for 35 years. I lectured in management, including in research methods, at university. I've got bachelors degrees and a masters degree."

Is anyone who could be called a medical expert on board, a GP for example? "I get a lot of information sent by anonymous means. Some comes from within; on at least one occasion I know it was the ministry. Any doctor worth his salt wouldn't question, as soon as you question the ministry you're on the outer."

But doesn't it defy belief that there is not one doctor in this country who is prepared to say 'hang on a minute this is all just wrong'. Why wouldn't there be one? There were the concerns raised by the Auckland District Health Board, he says.

Other than the debate about funding, have you had any medical experts backing your position? "Not who have come forward publicly."

Why not? "Because their reputation would be mud. If you want a career in the medical profession you don't rock the system.

"I've worked within it for 20 years. I know exactly how the system works."

Law doesn't believe the vaccine is safe, or that there is any evidence that it works, citing the deaths of three children who were all, he says, vaccinated against MeNZB.

Ministry data shows he is wrong. One child was too young to have had all the doses, and one child died from a non-epidemic strain.

The number of children who had caught the disease and survived shows a different picture.

Immunisation programme director Dr Jane O'Hallahan says so far this year 15 not or partially vaccinated children have contracted the disease, compared with 11 fully vaccinated children, of whom there are three times as many. That gives rates of one per 100,000 vaccinated children compared with 6 per 100,000 unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children - putting unvaccinated kids at six times the risk. She says the epidemic would not wane as it has without intervention.

"Ron Law is twisting this. He is not a statistician. It's insulting that he can suggest that independent groups and the Ministry of Health are somehow misrepresenting the data."

Does Law accept that people are putting their kids in danger by not getting the vaccine? "The jury is still out. I'm aware of three children that died from pneumonia within a week of being vaccinated and the ministry has said that's just bad luck, but you've got to ask the question."

But as almost all children are now vaccinated, wouldn't you expect some to die like that anyway? "That's true but within four days, or three?"

O'Hallahan says independent analysis has found no concerns about the vaccine's safety.

Despite Law's involvement with the supplements and natural foods industry, he says he has been careful never to advocate against immunisation per se and he denies his natural inclinations are behind his opposition to MeNZB.

How would he feel if a child from a family he had influenced not to vaccinate contracted the disease and died? "It would be tragic to them, but how do I feel about the children who were fully vaccinated and have died?

"To make an informed choice you have to have meaningful information; Barbara Sumner Burstyn and my roles have in part been to ensure that parents had all the information needed before deciding whether or not to subject their loved children to a mass medical experiment."

* Leah Haines is a mother of two, the youngest of whom has received four doses of the MeNZB vaccination as recommended by the Ministry of Health.