Telecom accused of corporate thuggery

By SHANE COWLISHAW - The Southland Times

Last updated 05:00 14/11/2009

Telecom has been accused of "corporate thuggery" by Windsor residents and business owners angry at plans to build a cellphone mast in the area.

Telecom subsidiary Chorus has a certificate of compliance from the Invercargill City Council and will soon build the mast in King St behind United Video.

The mast can be up to 18 metres high and will be sited as little as 10m from neighbouring houses.

Residents are angry the tower did not need public consultation to be approved and yesterday vented their anger at a public meeting.



From New Zealand

A new item has been posted:

Title: Telecom accused of corporate thuggery

Letter in response:

Dear Ministers

Please see below a report from the Southland Times regarding an unwanted celltower in Invercargill.

It appears that yet again, and despite assurances last year and again recently to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, Telecom is still trying to build celltowers around New Zealand without proper consultation with affected communities and in breach of the recommendations of the WHO.

This report is interesting because it is the first time I have seen a Telecom representative publicly acknowledge the legitimacy of the scientific debate about the safety of their product. The Telco's know there is serious international concern about the safety of cellphones due to the evidence of increase incidence of brain tumours on the side if the head where phones are used. There results have been compelling despite the design of the interphone study categorising only relatively low use of cellphones as "heavy use" and despite the relatively short time frame of the study only barely providing for the "latent effect".

It is interesting to note that the fine print of the information provided to purchasers of mobile phones recommends they be held away from the users head. However Telecom's advertising of their phones- including on TV and photos in their stores shows the phone held directly against the users head- in breach of their own advice.

Contrary to Ms Marshall's claims, the international debate is not only about cellphones. It is about the unnecessary and avoidable exposure of communities to radiofrequency EMR without informed consent of the risk, in reliance on compliance with standards that are fundamentally flawed. The standards (NZS2772:1 1999) are flawed because they protect only against thermal (heating and burning) the "microwave oven type" effect of RF-EMR and do not provide any protection against biological effects of radiofrequency radiation on living cells. The increased incidence of brain tumours on the side of the head where cellphones is used is now a well established biological (not thermal) effect. It is therefore now very clear that the NZ Standard is unsafe.

Please advise what action the government is taking to ensure that Telecom's advertising does not mislead consumers:

a) as to the safe way to use its cellphones,

b) about the evidence of safety or otherwise of cellphones and celltowers and

c) how the government intends to address the misleading statements made by Telecom to the public (in its advertising) and to Select Committee.

d) what new information the NZ government has relied on about the safety of RF/EMR to justify reduced protection for communities between the advice in its December 2000 National Guidelines and now; and

e) when the New Zealand government intends to start to adopt best international practice and ensure that consumers are properly warned about the uncertainties and known risks of the use of cellphones and exposure to EMR particularly for children, pregnant women and people who are electromagnetic sensitive.

Please let me know if I can assist with any additional information.

Thank you for your interest

Sue Grey

Informant: Martin Weatherall


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