BY JULIA WADE
Five days after appearing on TV1’s ‘Seven Sharp’ and featuring in ‘Local Matters’, a local woman’s petition designed to halt the progress of ultrafast 5G technology in Kaipara has snowballed in both local interest and signatures.
Mangawhai architectural draftsperson Lis Martinac set up an online Change.org petition in June after becoming aware of the possible health effects of the fifth generation cellular phone technology.
Gaining 200 signatures in its first two days, the petition count (at time of print) skyrocketed overnight after Lis’ Seven Sharp appearance and now has more than 800 signatures. The mother of three says she was ‘extremely grateful’ for the coverage which helped to further increase awareness of 5G locally as well as across the country.
“I’ve had countless messages of support from strangers which is incredibly encouraging, as well as many lovely people in our community expressing their gratitude for my effort,” she says. “Both the cameraman Leigh and Tim the reporter were really lovely and made me feel very comfortable throughout the interviewing process. Overall I’m very happy with the results.”
Since the number of signatures has exceeded her personal goal of 500, Lis says the petition – along with scientific and medical statements and research – will soon be presented to the KDC in the hope of stalling the roll-out of the new tech ‘until appropriate testing has been carried out and standards applied that will keep us and our environment safe’ she says.
“Once all the flyers I’ve been distributing have been delivered, I would like to host a community meeting before bringing the petition to a close and presenting it to council… hopefully in the next couple of months.”
Information around 5G, which Spark says is scheduled to go live in mid-2020, is as multi-layered and controversial as the vaccination debate, with numerous contradictory data available online from large service companies touting benefits of the new technology, and experienced scientists, medical specialists and researchers debating the potential effects on people’s health. Conspiracy theories including Russian propaganda are also offered.
The expansion of the 5G network, which is intended to enable faster wireless transmission of large amounts of data, will mean more antennae placed around urban areas, transmitting an increased exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on top of the telecommunications that are already in use such as 4G and Wi-Fi. Some scientists say the network will also vastly increase the emitting radiation of microwave and millimetre waves in the environment, to which there will be little escape due to the high transmission coverage.
Genuine health concerns include an increased risk of cancer, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, cellular stress, genetic damages, learning and memory deficits and neurological disorders, as well as harm to the wellbeing of animals and wildlife.
“When I first found out about 5G, I was horrified, angry and frustrated, felt like there was nothing I could do. But I couldn’t ignore my intuition or un-know what I knew,” Lis says. “So I willingly dove down the rabbit hole.”
The ‘hole’ Lis refers to was ‘relentless research’ of the potential ramifications of 5G and connecting with like-minded others, before passing on her information and creating awareness in the community.
“The rollout of 5G radiation will blanket us globally 24 hours a day and has never been tested to ensure it is biologically safe – the wireless industry openly admits this,” she says. “The damage 5G radiation will do on a cellular level is irreversible… I don’t want to feel the responsibility of knowing this stuff and just sitting back letting it happen. No way. This isn’t something to be afraid of, this is something to take action against. This is an opportunity, we can change this.”
Kaipara deputy mayor Peter Wethey says Council are aware of the strong local support for the petition, and confirms that Spark have applied to erect a 20 metre cell phone tower, initially for only 4G use but with 5G capability, in Mangawhai Club’s car park. In accordance with Government issued telecommunications legislation, The Club had to refer Spark's application to the landowner, the KDC, in order to erect the tower.
“Council considered this request but as it would significantly change the visual nature of the landscape and was within a relatively small distance from residential houses we declined,” he says. “So there will be no huge cellphone tower in The Club's car park. However, Spark may still seek other landowners to give permission and as long as the tower complies with the District Plan they do not need to get a consent from Council… and there would be little Council could do about it.”
To find out more and to view the petition go to change.org/p/kaipara-district-council-stop-5g-in-mangawhai-new-zealand.
Campaigner Lis Martinac hopes to host a community meeting in the next few months. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
“There is so much hope, there’s massive positive steps happening all over the world, people stepping up and joining forces. This is what’s needed.”