A 2000-plus signature petition to stop the rollout of 5G in Mangawhai has prompted the Kaipara District Council to investigate whether it has powers to act on such matters.
Architectural designer Lis Martinac started the petition that attracted 2066 signatories who said 5G should not be allowed since no evaluation of health effects on humans, wildlife and the environment has been undertaken.
In the petition, Martinac cited a number of supporting scientific studies that pointed to possible health effects from the latest technology, including substantially increasing exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi that are already in place.
She said 5G would massively increase the microwave and millimeter wave radiation in the environment.
It would also use new frequencies that were not evaluated by experts independent from industry as to their safety, she said.
"We do not give consent for the rollout of 5G technology in Mangawhai until these measures have been taken and our safety is assured. The health and wellbeing of our community and environment is of upmost importance to us."
Kaipara District Councillors accepted her petition and requested the council chief executive to investigate the issues raised that KDC has jurisdiction over and to report back at their next meeting.
KDC wasn't prepared to make further comments as issues raised in the petition were being looked into.
KDC rules say that as long as a cell tower fits within the parameters of council district plan guidelines, telecommunication companies do not have to apply for consent to erect a tower on private land.
Vodafone begins testing at first South Island 5G site
5G is still in its infancy in New Zealand but Vodafone has announced it would switch to the latest technology in December and that Nokia would provide equipment needed for the rollout starting in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
The Government's Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has declined Spark's application to use Huawei's 5G equipment, citing a "significant network security risk".
The Government earlier this year announced companies could start rolling out the latest technology from 2020 after national rights of the 5G spectrum was auctioned early next year.
Spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band will also be available to regional wireless broadband service providers.
Martinac said a substantial and convincing amount of scientific studies showed many adverse health effects and health hazards from 5G radio frequency and microwave radiation.
She said in recent years, over 240 scientists from more than 40 countries have expressed "serious concerns" on the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to electric and magnetic fields generated by electric and wireless devices.
"All we want to see is proof it won't affect us and I think the Kaipara District Council can act as a voice for the community on this matter.
"We're taking about small cells attached to phone and lamp poles and we won't be able to turn them off. It's a completely new infrastructure ... it's a big deal," she said.
Martinac said effects of 5G included increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans.
She claims damage went well beyond the human race, as there was growing evidence of harmful effects to both plants and animals.
Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi referred queries to the Ministry of Health which has convened the Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-ionising Fields to monitor and review research on the health effects of electromagnetic fields.