Discovering the One Waiheke website recently has given me joy (which goes to show what a boring life I lead). Alan Knight’s superb ‘Media Watch’ in particular, has given great pleasure but some mental anguish and confusion also. I voted for Nikki Kaye, but help pack the Gulf News for a couple of hours on Thursday mornings, which must surely qualify me to be a “Bolshevik Cohort” or at least have latent pinko tendencies according to Alan, (who makes more sense than most politicians). My political leanings ARE decidedly wobbly having veered from side to side voting either Labour or National, whichever one appeared to be the lesser of two evils at the time. Rather like voting for Len Brown because he is not John Banks.
After many years of total political apathy/cynicism/disinterest I underwent a strange transformation when in a fit of NIMBYism I did some serious research on phonemasts. Over the last two years I have met (and harangued) MPs Cath Tizard, Nick Smith, Nikki Kaye, Phil Twyford and Jacinda Ardern. Once one of the world’s worst correspondents, my Cornish cousins assumed I was dead for years. Now, in my evangelistic fervour I have become a Forrest Gump of letter writers in my determination to publicise this issue.
It is true that ignorance is bliss, but it is not true that what we don’t know doesn’t hurt us. Therefore, I intend to share the burden of accumulated information on this subject with One Waiheke readers as time and energy permit over the next few weeks in the hope that in becoming aware of all the dodgy aspects (vested interests, junk science, etc.) others will join the push for change. We expect our elected government to protect us, yet history has proven that when it comes down to money, governments everywhere are reluctant to let go of the lolly.
With regard to the phonemast issue (National Environmental Standards) both major parties are as bad as each other. Trevor Mallard, as Minister for the Environment, pushed the NES through, under unexplained urgency in the dying days of the Labour Government. The usually nosy, noisy Nats said nothing and the folk-dancing Green’s drug ridden views were pointedly ignored by the media, who because of the timing of this Bill were in a pre-election feeding frenzy anyway and couldn’t be bothered with real reporting. Since then a number of petitions objecting to the NES including the Crawford (Waiheke) petition were sent to Parliament. A Select Committee was formed, made certain recommendations such as removing vested interests from the Government’s advisory panel. The Government declined to accept any of the recommendations. This is like Rothmans and Pall Mall advising the Government not to listen to those naughty, trouble-making malcontents who sign petitions or even to pay attention to their own MP’s recommendations such as smoking is perfectly safe because Big Tobacco says so.
Campaigners do not want to abolish cellphones or to halt progress. Since 2008, New Zealand has had one of the most permissive, slackest standards in the world in relation to the siting of phonemasts and levels of radiation. Marine 3G cellsites can transmit for 30 kms. The current proliferation of masts is purely profit driven. Campaigners believe that New Zealanders should at least have the same standard of protection that much of Europe and even such countries with poor human rights records such as China and Russia have. This is not unreasonable.
In case in the future anyone whose name has been associated with mine wishes to disown me, ( for whatever reason), please note that unless quoted, all opinions given are entirely my own.