A recent investigation has revealed that the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union accepted funding from British American Tobacco, according to a press note issued by the public health organization Hāpai te Hauora and published on the New Zealand Doctor website.

‘In an investigation into the ties between “free-market think tanks” and the tobacco industry, right-wing lobbying group, the NZ Taxpayers’ Union, was identified as being supported by multinational firm British American Tobacco,’ the press note said.

Hāpai te Hauora said it had had a long history of challenging the Union, which had railed against cigarette tax increases and plain packaging laws in New Zealand.

Current Hāpai Tobacco Control manager, Mihi Blair, was quoted as saying that this was predictable behavior from tobacco companies, which continued to attempt to create divisions among those who were working towards eliminating smoking-related harm.

“I should think the NZ Taxpayer’s Union will have their tail between their legs,’ she said. ‘This completely undermines their credibility, especially with a motto like lower tax, less waste, more transparency. This is the sort of behaviour we expect from Big Tobacco – trying to find puppets to advance their interests.”

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