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The national environmental standards for telecommunications facilities were gazetted on 11 September 2008 and will come into force on 9 October 2008.

Already the standards are controversial.

Porirua City Councillor Robert Shaw said central government has "denied communities their right to be involved in decisions that they find important".

"This cuts right across the covenant of local government in New Zealand.

"We expect communities to work together and cooperate with government agencies.

"But now, large companies such as Telecom and Vodafone are elevated above such lowly concerns.

"Companies that are accountable to their shareholders have taken on the powers previously held by elected local councils.

"There is no practicable appeal available to people who object to the decisions of these companies.

"That rights to our streets can be given by Government to a company like Vodafone which has its headquarters in the UK is quite staggering.

"This regulation transfers valuable rights to companies and follows a pathetic underfunded, eight week consultation. They only received 85 submissions from the whole country and vested interest groups dominated the submissions.

"The Government hides behind such piffle as the alleged need for 'a nationally consistent planning framework'.

"Fact is, the companies all compete with each other, are profit driven, and show little willingness co-locate facilities or minimise their impact on communities.

"Before you rewrite the District Plans of all the councils in the country you should at least put your plan in front of Parliament. Instead, the Government chose to establish regulations through a decision of Cabinet.

"New Zealanders work best when they are are treated in a fair way, involved in decisions, and can pull together. We have a magnificent capacity to cooperate and reach practical compromises. I am at a loss to know why the Government does not trust people and wants to impose threats, stress and tension on communities and households.

There is more on this decision on Cr Shaw's local government web site www.porirua.net


ends

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