Marewa Glover hits back after being labelled mouthpiece for tobacco companies

Academic Dr Marewa Glover is hitting back after being labelled a mouthpiece for tobacco companies as the Government looks to ban people smoking when they've got children in their car.

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She says we are exaggerating the harm caused by smoking in cars. Source: 1 NEWS

She has spoken out about the law change saying the harm from second hand smoking in cars is exaggerated.

Dr Glover was nominated as New Zealander of the year for her work improving the health of Māori. Dr Glover is the director of Centre of Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty & Smoking.

Now she's talking with lawyers after being criticised for her views.

It comes after a Radio New Zealand investigation said the funding for her research comes from a foundation that gets a $1.5 million donation from tobacco giant Philip Morris.

Dr Glover says that's no secret and she's not been compromised.

"They have no control over me, I have no relationship with Philip Morris or a tobacco company, I wrote a proposal, I put it into a contested round just as I always have done and I won the funding - that's how it works," she says.

Associate Minister of Health, Jenny Salesa says the Government is standing up for children's rights.

"Her opinion is her opinion but we are doing what's right, especially for our tamariki," she says.

This all comes as the Government is set to ban smoking in cars with people under 18 - police will have discretion but people caught could face a $50 fine.

Dr Glover is in the minority of those speaking out against it.

"I think what gets missed is that people don't realise that our bodies heal, so even if we are temporarily exposed, we heal from that," Dr Glover argues.

The Children's Commissioner says the ban is a no-brainer.

"There should be no debate, it is inarguably the best thing to do for children and for their health. The health benefits are crystal clear," says Judge Andrew Becroft.