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Greens seek to stop telco rollout on power poles

24th January 2008

Greens seek to stop telco rollout on power poles

The Green Party is campaigning to stop the Government introducing regulations which will allow intrusive telecommunications equipment to be installed as of right, without consultation, on most power poles in New Zealand, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says.

"Under the proposed regulations, telecommunications companies will be able to clutter power poles in residential areas and next to schools and childcare centres with new cellular and wireless technologies.

"Ariels and other equipment will be allowed up to three meters higher than the top of the pole," Ms Kedgley says.

"And unless the equipment is in a heritage area, councils won't be able to restrict the activities of the telecommunication companies. No resource consent will be necessary and local residents will have no say in the matter.

"We have set up a power pole in Mount Victoria with antennae and masts, to demonstrate how visually intrusive power poles around New Zealand could become.

"Under the proposed regulations, there will be no restrictions on the number of masts and antennae hanging on poles outside homes and bedrooms, regardless of concerns about the health effects of increased exposure to radio frequency radiation.

"This is particularly alarming given that research released this week by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science report, commissioned by the US Food and Drug Administration, concluded there is a lack of research into the safety of new wireless and radio frequency technology for children, pregnant women and fetuses.

"It is completely wrong to sidestep community acceptance before untested technologies with potentially significant health risks are established in residential areas," Ms Kedgley says.

"There is no obligation under the proposed national standard for the companies to pay rentals for the usage of power poles, which in many cases are owned by state-owned enterprises.

"Telecommunications providers are amongst the most profitable companies in New Zealand. They don't need a handout from the Government in the form of a new property right, and they should not be exempt from the basic oversight provided by the Resource Management Act and local councils."

Note: Power pole mock up located at 117 Pirie St, Mt Victoria, Wellington. Privately owned.


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