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Campaigner suspicious about smoke signal

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An attack on Action on Smoking and Health is being described as same movie, different scenery by a Maori tobacco control advocate whose organisation was silenced after attacks by a tobacco industry-funded blogger.

The Taxpayers Union says it’s unfair that ASH, which gets more than 90 percent of its funding from the taxpayer, is working with the Maori Party on a political campaign around tobacco plain packaging.

Shane Bradbrook says it looks similar to the sort of pressure that came on his group Te Ao Marama from the Whale Oil blog, which led to it losing its Health Ministry funding.

He noted a Taxpayers Union co-founder is blogger and National Party pollster David Farrar.

Mr Farrar, the Taxpayers Union and Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater all feature in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics about the use of blogs to attack critics of National or its policies.

The book also revealed that Mr Slater received regular payments from tobacco industry lobbyist Carrick Graham.

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