Fair is fair: Public have right to say on cellphone towers

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The public have a right to be consulted before cellphone towers, or antennae are constructed next to their homes, schools and playcentres, said the Green Party today.

“It is incredibly unfair that telecommunications companies can put up transmitters and antennae on power poles next to people’s homes without having to inform them or consult with them,” Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said.

There has been a wave of protests sweeping New Zealand about cellphone antennae being constructed next to schools and houses, without community consent. There have recently been protests in Eastbourne, Manukau, Pakuranga and Point Chevalier.

In response to a series of hard hitting questions in Parliament today, Minister Ryall confirmed that the public does not currently have a right to be consulted on cellphone towers being put up in their communities.        

“The rules need to be urgently changed so there is a requirement to consult with communities before cellphone towers or antennae are put up next to homes, schools and playcentres,” said Ms Kedgley.

Recent international research shows electromagnetic radiation from cellphone towers may affect people’s health, even at low levels of exposure.

“Until we know these towers are safe the Government should stop allowing them next to homes, schools and playcentres – it is absolutely crucial that we take a precautionary approach and put people’s health first.”

“It is simply not fair that people’s homes property values can be instantly and significantly reduced because cellphone towers or antennae are built next to them without the owner’s knowledge or consent.”

The Prime Minister has reportedly told the Manukau Mayor Len Brown that he would recommend to Cabinet a review of the lack of consultation requirements in the national environmental standards for telecommunication facilities. “This review needs to happen immediately,” said Ms Kedgley.
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