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Election Advertising By Timberlands Front Group

News release 23 November 1999

PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY NEEDED FOLLOWING ELECTION ADVERTISING BY TIMBERLANDS FRONT GROUP

Author Nicky Hager has called for a parliamentary inquiry into links between Timberlands West Coast and the pro-logging pressure group Coast Action Network, which paid for a full-page advertisement in Coromandel today attacking the Green, Labour and Alliance parties. He says it is disturbing to see a group with very close links to a state company trying to influence the outcome of the election.

Nicky Hager is so-author of the book, Secrets and Lies, which reproduced leaked minutes of a Timberlands' PR meeting where Coast Action Network was devised. He says that each activity undertaken by the front group has been planned with and supported by the company. The person named on today's advertisement in the Hauraki Herald works for Timberlands. A week ago the group had a half page ad in the Sunday Star-Times.

"The next parliament should launch a detailed inquiry into links between Timberlands and Coast Action Network," Mr Hager said. "The inquiry will need to investigate covert funding, the provision of strategy advice and the nature of the contractual arrangement between Timberlands and the group's spokesperson."

"We have documentary evidence of Timberlands writing letters lobbying the government and to newspapers and arranging for them to be sent out by the front group. It would be even more serious if a state-owned company tried to influence the election through a front group. I hope the new parliament will agree it is worth investigating."

Contact: Nicky Hager 04 3845074




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