Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kedgley peddles more hysteria

Like some parroting hysteric, Sue Kedgley has found a new conspiracy which threatens the health and lives of us all. It is the possibility that telecommunications transmitters might be installed, of all places, on top of power poles. Her reaction tells all about the use of language as propaganda.
The tenor of her press release is seriously unhinged and outright scaremongering with statements such as “telecommunications companies will be able to clutter power poles in residential areas and next to schools and childcare centres with new cellular and wireless technologies”.
In that once sentence she loads so much evidence absent value judgments to frighten the ill informed, i.e. those who vote for her. “Clutter” apparently implying that somehow we’re all using the top of power poles now, and will be interfered with, or that it will be ugly. I am willing to wager than in one day, Sue Kedgley would be unable to identify every single telecommunications transmitter site in Wellington City – because so many of them are unobtrusive, and plenty are on top or on the side of building with nobody noticing them. However, I am sure it wouldn’t be “clutter” if they were broadcasting a free to air commercial free channel of leftwing doggerel.
Then she talks of “next to schools and childcare centres”, implying, though not saying, that transmitters are “unsafe”. She likes claiming new technologies are unsafe, it gives her something to regulate, something to blame at and it looks like she is saving us all from the evil companies who don’t care. The truth is that she is an unscientific busybody who prefers fear and hysteria to science and balanced debate – she squawks like a parrot, happily stirring fear to gain votes.
She continues "We have set up a power pole in Mount Victoria with antennae and masts, to demonstrate how visually intrusive power poles around New Zealand could become”. No doubt using the latest technology with every incentive to make it work efficiently and be unobtrusive right? Of course most homes in New Zealand already have antennae, masts, some have satellite dishes. Perhaps they are visually intrusive too, as are the trolley bus wires that provide a 550v netting over many major arterial routes and city streets in Wellington – but that’s ok, because electric buses are good – telecommunications companies are bad. Of course she has a cellular phone and rarely catches a trolley bus – funny that.
She continues her rant “there will be no restrictions on the number of masts and antennae hanging on poles outside homes and bedrooms, regardless of concerns about the health effects of increased exposure to radio frequency radiation”. Forgetting that the laws of physics do impose such restrictions, given poles can’t carry unlimited numbers of these things, and there are serious issues of avoiding harmonics and interference between antennae, and if you have a bedroom next to a power pole then more fool you. More importantly the “health effects” are largely a beat up by her. She completely ignores that every single radio and TV transmits non-ionising electromagnetic radiation, she also ignores the proliferation of home wifi systems as well – presumably this is all good, or because it isn’t an evil entity (telecommunications companies fit that category), it isn’t worth her attention.
Finally she says “There is no obligation under the proposed national standard for the companies to pay rentals for the usage of power poles, which in many cases are owned by state-owned enterprises”. Again, her lack of command of the facts says a bit about her. Very very few power poles are owned by state-owned enterprises, largely because most are owned by electricity lines companies. These are not retail companies (which SOEs most certainly own). The implication here is that the beloved warm embracing state that she loves is being “robbed” because of a lack of rentals. She should relax. Not only are they not owned by state owned enterprises in almost all cases (and transmitters on top of Transpower masts are likely to be hardly an issue for numerous reasons), but the issue should be whether owners of poles should be allowed to.
So there it is, a press release of hysterical assertions, and leading value judgments with next to no evidence. It bears a mild resemblance to the sort of nonsense that passes for news from North Korea – blurting out fear, blame and demands that something be done – when scratching the surface it is just a grasp for attention, pleading to the ignorant by the power hungry and envy ridden.


Anonymous said...

From useless Wellington City counsellor to useless Green Party MP.

How on earth the luddites manage to get this deranged woman on the list? I don't feel sorry for the morons who elected her and gave their vote to the Stone Age greens

Seamonkey Madness said...

I generally agree that Kedgley is a tad extreme at times, but would you like/mind having a cellphone array on a power pole outside your house?

Libertyscott said...

Frankly, I wouldn't really care, depending on aesthetics, given it isn't an array, and many work on buildings which have them ON them. I am at bigger risk of talking long periods on my cellphone itself, and home wifi than I am from a transmitter 10 or so metres away.

The point is this, if it isn't your property and is within recognised limits for emissions (doesn't interfere with your own rights to use electromagnetic equipment and doesn't affect your health), then you should have no right to interfere with it. Kedgley bashes telecommunications, but never bashes broadcasting - which is no different.