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Public rights undermined by new telco regulations

6 March 2008

Public rights undermined by new telco regulations

Intrusive telecommunications equipment will be able to be installed as of right, without consultation, on most power poles in New Zealand, thanks to sweeping National Environmental Standards announced today.

"The new standards will allow antennae and other equipment to be installed without consultation or the consent of local residents, with the provision that equipment is no higher than three metres above an existing pole," Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says.

"The Government has completely ignored the public's submissions opposing these regulations and has bulldozed ahead with standards developed by telecommunications companies with a vested interest in rolling out their technologies without the hindrance of having to consult local residents.

"Under the new standards, telecommunications companies will be able to clutter power poles in residential areas and even next to schools and childcare centres with new cellular and wireless equipment, including satellite dishes.

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

"There are increasing concerns about the potential cumulative health effects of new cellular and wireless technologies. The new standards completely ignore these health concerns." Ms Kedgley says.

"Using National Environmental Standards to force infrastructural development on communities and environments rather than set a minimum standard of protection sets a dangerous precedent.

"These standards undermine people's rights to be consulted on developments in their community which could affect their health or amenity values.

"They run against the spirit of the Resource Management Act, which is only to permit development where it does not compromise environment and community values. These undemocratic standards illustrate exactly why the Green Party opposed the 2004 amendment that made this abuse of the National Environmental Standards possible."


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