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Why the rush? Environmental lawyer asks.

If it really is as good as they say, then an informed public would want it anyway, says environmental lawyer Sue Grey.

Ms Grey is talking about 5G — the new network being rolled out by telecommunications companies over the next few months.

Benefits of 5G include driver-less cars, being able to turn your washing machine on from hundreds of kilometres away, and faster games and movie downloads on cellphones or other screens.

But Ms Grey is concerned why the telecommunication companies wanted to roll it out 'under cover'.

The Nelson-based lawyer was brought to Gisborne to speak after the screening of 5G Apocalypse, watched by about 60 people at the Odeon Theatre on Sunday night.

The question and answer session afterwards lasted longer than the film itself, said Ms Grey.

'People are quite concerned about it. They are worried about more cellphone towers and more radiation.'

Alexandra in the South Island was the first test town in New Zealand to get the new 5G network, which is more like 4.5G, said Ms Grey.

Because of law changes in NZ over the last 10 years, cellphone towers can go up anywhere at anytime with no consultation, and they do not require resource consent from regional councils.

Ms Grey said there were a lot of questions at the Sunday night event around the lack of democracy around the introduction of 5G. 'We all live here, so why are we not being asked about the technology, what the communities views are, and whether they need it?'

Trees, babies and bees were the top three things people were most concerned about being harmed by the radiation, she said.

'Given a choice of trees or technology, plenty of people would say trees.'

Ms Grey has put her legal and research skills behind the 5G rollout, which has become a national issue.

It was better to postpone the rollout around NZ until people have had a chance to have a conversation about it first, she said.

'We also just spent $2 billion on fibre-optic cable after being told it was the best. Why do we now have another technology?

'When it comes to safety, security,

Systematic approach to 5G

A Ministry of Health spokesperson says 5G is simply a new application of radio technology.

'Existing research on the possible health effects of radiofrequency (RF) fields applies as much to 5G as to any other radio system in use.

'Measurements of 5G sites in Australia have shown that exposures are similar to those from 3G and 4G, and very far below health-based exposure limits.'

The Ministry of Health monitors new research in this area, and participates in a World Health Organisation project to assess the health effects of electromagnetic fields.

'A lot of research investigating the possible health effects of RF fields has been published, and health and scientific bodies around the world have reviewed such research thoroughly.

The reviews are carried out by groups that collectively cover the range of disciplines needed to make an informed assessment, rather than by individuals. They take a systematic approach so as to be as objective as possible in their conclusions.'

More information on 5G and health is available here: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/environmental-health/radiation-environment/cellsites

reliability and speed — fibre-optic beats 5G on all of them.

'Why are telecommunication companies so keen to rush this out to the community while they are still investigating the harmful effects of it?

'We need to make mindful choices about technology, and whether it is good for humanity as well as good for business.'

OLD SCHOOL RULES: Using your cellphone has been classed as a 2B carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which means it is 'possibly carcinogenic to humans'. To combat this, environmental lawyer Sue Grey, who was in Gisborne this week to speak about the need for open dialogue around 5G technology, uses a plug-in old-school handset for her cellphone. Picture by Liam Clayton

  1. J Brown says:

    “Yet, since the FCC adopted these limits based largely on research from the 1980s, the preponderance of peer-reviewed research, more than 500 studies, have found harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities too low to cause significant heating.”