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Goodbye to local rights, hello to telco equipment

12 September 2008

Goodbye to local rights, hello to telco equipment

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says intrusive and potentially harmful telecommunications equipment will be able to be installed as of right, without consultation, on most telephone poles in New Zealand, thanks to just gazetted sweeping National Environmental Standards.

"Under the new standard, 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, even if these could significantly affect their health or amenity values. No resource consent will be necessary and local residents will have no say in the matter," Ms Kedgley says.

"It means that people will be powerless, and will have no right to object, even if intrusive telecommunications equipment is erected directly outside their homes or schools.

"It is shocking that the Government had overridden the right of communities and local Government to have a say on intrusive telecommunications equipment in their neighbourhoods, despite overwhelming opposition to their new standard," Ms Kedgley says.

"The new standard was effectively written by telecommunications companies with a vested interest in doing away with the normal requirement that local residents should be consulted on changes that would affect the amenity values and potential safety of their neighbourhood.

"It is extraordinary that New Zealanders need to get resource consent for minor alterations to their homes, but no resource consent is needed when telecommunications companies erect cellular technology, up to 3 metres on top of existing structures, outside people's homes.

"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.

"These standards 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."


ENDS

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