Two more Auckland cell phone towers have gone up in flames overnight in suspicious circumstances.

Covid 19: Facebook responds after NZ cell tower arson brag video goes viral on its platform

There has been a series of arson attacks on phone towers in recent weeks, including a fire at a Spark tower in Mangere on Tuesday.

The latest fires took place in Ōtāhuhu and Favona overnight, acting Detective Inspector Shaun Vickers said.


"At around 2.38am, a police unit has spotted smoke on Todd Place, Ōtāhuhu and on further inspection the cell tower has been located on fire.

"Police were also called to another incident on Savill Drive, Favona at around 3.44am."

He said police were investigating the fires.

"Scene examinations have been conducted at both sites and we are treating these as suspicious."

Anti-5G activists protest in the United States. In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said rumours linking 5G to coronavirus are totally false. Photo / AP
Anti-5G activists protest in the United States. In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said rumours linking 5G to coronavirus are totally false. Photo / AP

One of the wildest conspiracy theories to emerge on social media recently has been that the introduction of 5G wireless technology had caused the Covid-19 outbreak.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked about it in early April and said it was totally false.

"I almost hesitate to even speak to it on this platform. It is just not true," she said.

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield also raised eyebrows at the suggestion.


Anti-5G protesters have been linked to at least two cell tower attacks recently.

This included the destruction of a new 4G cell tower in the Far North last month, just before to it was due to be switched on, and an arson attack on a cell site in Manurewa - whose protagonists posted a video of their efforts to Facebook.

Telecommunications companies were said to be privately fuming about the repeated threats made against towers.

Geoff Thorn, head of the Telecommunications Forum, which represents the major telcos, told the Herald in early April: "We know that damage to mobile networks in other countries has been linked to groups opposed to 5G. "

After Tuesday's attack on a tower in Mangere, a Spark spokeswoman said the telecommunication company was in close contact with police.

"We think that acts of vandalism against critical infrastructure like cell towers is outrageous, particularly during a pandemic – a time when connectivity is more important than ever," she said.


"Spark has been working with police about threats made to some of our cell sites, as well as some instances of arson. Generally, damage has been fairly negligible, but this is the second event which has caused an outage in the surrounding area."

In the UK, there have been about 80 incidents of cell tower arson or vandalism since the start of the outbreak.

Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery described attacks on 5G towers as a "matter of national security", and said police and counter-terrorism authorities were investigating the attacks, which Jeffery labelled the work of "deluded conspiracy theorists".

Police said their inquiries in last night's attacks in South Auckland were ongoing and they were treating the matters seriously.

"Anyone with information that may assist police is asked to contact Counties Manukau Crime Squad on (09) 261 1321 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111," acting Detective Inspector Vickers said.