Government’s double standard over public health

The decision made on 14 August 2020 by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to keep the 1.5 million people who live in Auckland under a Level 3 lockdown, due to a new cluster of Covid-19 cases, stands in stark contrast to her government’s cavalier approach to public health and safety in relation to the 5G issue.

Jacinda Ardern’s government was first alerted to the potential risks of 5G in 2018 when Radio Spectrum Management NZ called for submissions on 5G. 

In response, Radio Spectrum Management received numerous submissions informing the government that the deployment of this technology was likely to put New Zealanders’ health at risk.

New Zealand scientist Dr Mary Redmayne contributed a submission. 

A letter from an international group of scientists was also provided to Radio Spectrum Management as part of this consultation. [1] Ardern’s government apparently chose to ignore this advice.

When it became clear that her government had apparently chosen to ignore the advice of independent scientists in favour of taking recommendations of a committee convened by the Ministry of Health that includes people who have obvious conflicts of interest [2], people wrote directly to the Prime Minister to ensure that she would be personally informed about the risks of 5G.

Given that 5G has not been tested for safety, the 5G-Free New Zealand campaign has repeatedly called for a precautionary approach to this new technology.

We have advocated for a moratorium on the deployment of this technology until such time as 5G has undergone proper pre-market safety testing and found to be safe. [3]

The 5G issue is not just an issue of academic concern.  It is a matter that needs to be urgently addressed due to its public health risks.

The 5G system uses pulsed microwave radiation, a form of electromagnetic radiation that was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B) in 2011.

Research since that time (which has yet to be reviewed by IARC) supports its re-categorisation as a Group 2B (probable) or even Group 1 (proven) human carcinogen. [4] [5] [6]

There is evidence from peer-reviewed research that the health risks from microwave radiation are not limited to the use of devices such as mobile or cordless phones [7] but also extend to people who live close to cellular phone infrastructure. [8]

At a time when people’s attention is understandably focussed on the health risks of a viral infection which has the potential to cause serious or in some cases, fatal illness (especially in people who have significant underlying health problems) it is pertinent to remember that the major killer diseases in NZ are degenerative diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Ardern’s government’s decision to ignore the advice of independent scientists and to favour the interests of the telecommunications industry rather than act to protect the health and safety of the citizens and residents of NZ is worrying.

The last thing that New Zealanders need, given our cancer rate is already the second highest in the world, is increased exposure to potentially carcinogenic radiation.[9]

If the Prime Minister can justify the massive social and economic disruption caused by lockdowns to prevent the spread of viral illness that most people will survive given prompt treatment with appropriate medications [10], why has she not insisted that her government take a precautionary approach to 5G and instituted a moratorium until this unnecessary, untested technology has been properly studied?

Over the last few months, in which New Zealanders have had their civil liberties infringed as never before in our history for the stated cause of protecting people’s health, Jacinda Ardern and her government have constantly exhorted New Zealanders to “be kind”. 

Given that her administration is allowing an increasing number of New Zealanders to be used as lab rats by the telecommunications industry, this exhortation is beginning to ring very hollow.


[1]  The health-related submissions may be found at the following link:  Dr. Mary Redmayne’s submission may be found on page 47 of the PDF.  The letter from the international group of scientists may be read at the following link:

[2] The Terms of Reference for the Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non Ionising Fields are available on the Ministry of Health’s website and demonstrate that the committee is set up to include telecommunications industry representation.  A committee member whose name has frequently appeared on past reports made by the Committee, Martin Gledhill, also does cell site testing for major NZ telcos. For example, and  





[7] A short, but impressive, video of lawyer Jimmy Gonzalez (who developed cell phone-linked tumours at the three sites of his body that had the highest exposures to radiation from his cell phone) giving testimony. Mr. Gonzalez, who was born in 1972, died from cancer in 2014.

[8]  This link provides an example of research showing excess cancer risk in people living closer to cellular phone infrastructure.  The levels of microwave radiation to which the people in this study were exposed are legal in NZ.


[10]  This link provides information about how inexpensive medications, which are safe for most people, can be used to treat Covid-19:  


Steve Hart is a writer and podcaster.