4 Sep 2014

Food council boss won't resign

6:32 pm on 4 September 2014

The chief executive of the Food and Grocery Council chief executive says she has no intention of resigning from the Government's Health Promotion Agency, despite accusations that she has been undermining public health.

Katherine Rich.

Katherine Rich. Photo: NZ Parliament

Katherine Rich, a former National Party MP, was appointed by the National-led Government to the public health organisation, which aims to inspire New Zealanders to lead healthier lives.

Newly released hacked emails appear to show that Ms Rich was in contact with WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater and public relations executive Carrick Graham who were attacking public health advocates and critics of food companies.

Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said today that Ms Rich has to go. "Katherine Rich, Carrick Graham and Cameron Slater have all been involved in a systematic undermining of health promotion in New Zealand. She cannot tenably remain on the board of that organisation."

But in a statement today, Ms Rich said she has never been involved in undemining public health and finds the claim very offensive. She says she puts her heart and soul into the Health Promotion Agency.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said he was confident that any conflicts were being managed appropriately.

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