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Advisory Committee members re Non-Ionising Radiation - connections with Telco. industry

Michael Vaughan made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

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From: Michael Vaughan

Dear Ministry of Health,

I would like to know the following information concerning the Advisory Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation:

(a) Who are the current members of this committee?
(b) Which of these members has been employed by (or contracted by) a telecommunications company?
(c) What is the process whereby these individuals become members of this committee?
(d) When making decisions about non-ionising radiation, e.g. Safety Standards, from what other sources does the Ministry of Health access information?
(e) How many members of the committee have qualifications in Biology to enable them to adequately advise the Ministry of Health about possible effects of non-ionising radiation at cellular level?
(f) Has the Ministry of Health been informed by the Advisory Committee that France has banned wi-fi in pre-school centres and restricted its usage in primary schools...and has the Ministry of Health taken any steps to find out the reasons for this, in the interests of the safety of children in New Zealand?
(g) What are the proposed frequencies for 5G and what research has been conducted into the safety of these particular frequencies of non-ionising radiation?

It is obviously of extreme importance the the Ministry of Health receives high-quality, unbiased advice from the Advisory Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation and that members of the committee do not have Conflicts of Interest such as employment or contracting connections with the telecommunications industry.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Vaughan

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From: Michael Vaughan

Dear Ministry of Health,

I would like to remind you that by law you should have responded to my Official Information Request 'Advisory Committee members re Non-Ionising Radiation - connections with Telco. industry' by September 6.

I look forward to your response on this important matter in the very near future.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Vaughan

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Ministry of Health


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Kia ora Michael

Please find attached a letter regarding your request for official
information.

Nga mihi

OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [email address]

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D J Blair left an annotation ()

Hi Michael,

Just as a note of interest, I had a similar request refused under section 9(2)(a) of the Act to protect the privacy of natural persons.

Here is the cited subsection: to protect the privacy of natural persons, including that of deceased natural persons

Now, what I understand the definition of the words "includes, including" to be in legislative writing. From Blacks Law 3rd edition where they credit the original to Edward Coke, and there have been many subsequent corresponding definitions.

"The inclusion of one is the exclusion of another. The certain designation of one
person is an absolute exclusion of all others." 11 Coke 58b.

I am currently waiting for clarification but it sounds like the reason for refusing these requests is to protect the privacy of the deceased.

What have any persons, now passed away, got to do with a request for information on current interagency committee members?
Is it to protect the corpse? The body corporate? The corporation sole, The Corporation?

It is extremely curious that the identities of these persons are protected, they are free from liability if their identities are hidden.
This is very much cloak and dagger politics playing out before us.

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Michael Vaughan left an annotation ()

Thank you D J Blair for your message. I'm not surprised to hear that you received a similar stone-wall response from MOH to your request for information about the Interagency Committee. As you know, this Committee has an incredibly important role in advising the MOH on issues such as how much radiation the NZ public can 'safely' be exposed to from wireless networks and devices. Given the crucial nature of their role, it's vital that their operation is transparent so that the NZ public can have confidence that they are providing quality, independent advice....particularly as the Committee is advising the MOH that it's okay for the NZ public to be exposed to radiation levels hundreds or even thousands of times higher than those allowed in other countries. Instead, the 'cloak and dagger' approach is being taken, as you correctly point out. I have made a complaint to the Ombudsman as I believe this is a very serious issue.

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Ministry of Health


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Kia ora Michael Vaughan

We understand you have previously requested information regarding the
members of the Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-ionising
Fields.

At the time the Ministry made the decision to withhold this information,
however the Ministry has reconsidered the decision. Please find attached
to this email a list of the current members of the Interagency Committee
on the Health Effects of Non-ionising Fields for your information.

Ngā mihi

OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [email address]

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From: Michael Vaughan

Dear Ministry of Health,

Thank you for sending the list of members of the Interagency Committee for the Health Effects of Non-Ionising Radiation.

The reason for my original OIA is that I have reason to believe that this Committee is not fit for purpose. Given the vital role that this Committee plays in advising the Ministry of Health on the levels of wireless radiation to which the New Zealand public is exposed, it is of paramount importance that this Committee is suitably-qualified, unbiased and generally fit for purpose to carry out this crucial role.

It is of great concern to me that there is insufficient input by medical professionals and biologists on this Committee. It is, after all, a Committee charged with the responsibility of advising on HEALTH effects of the ever-increasing layers and levels of pulsed, non-ionising radiation.

In contrast, there is substantial input from government officials and telecommunications industry representatives.

I do not think the membership of this Committee is conducive to its providing high-quality, independent advice to the Ministry of Health about the interaction of pulsed, non-ionising electromagnetic radiation with the complex processes of the human body (many of which I understand are regulated by minute electromagnetic fields).

It is certainly a big step forward to have some clarity about the membership of this Committee. However, I believe it is of even greater importance to have clarity about any employment/contractual links that members of the Committee may have with the telecommunications industry. Any potential Conflicts of Interest should be declared publicly, including on the Ministry of Health website. I have not yet been supplied with this information, which was requested in my original OIA (see below). In addition, for the New Zealand public to have confidence in this Committee, there needs to be transparency about the way in which members are appointed to this Committee and the criteria for selection. Simply stating that the members are appointed by the Director-General of Health is not providing an adequate level of transparency.

The release of the names of the Committee members is a step forward, but I have major concerns about this Committee and I therefore request the release of the information in items (b) and (c) in my original OIA request.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Vaughan

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Ministry of Health


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Kia ora

 

 

Thank you for your request under the Official Information Act 1982 (the
Act) for:

 

"...I therefore request the release of the information in items (b) and
(c) in my original OIA request:

(b) Which of these members has been employed by (or contracted by) a
telecommunications company?
(c) What is the process whereby these individuals become members of this
committee?"

 

The Ministry of Health's reference number for your request is H202006448.

 

As required under the Act, you can expect a response within 20 working
days of your request being received:
[1]https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/

 

Ngā mihi

OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [email address]

From:        "Michael Vaughan"
<[FOI #10952 email]>
To:        "OIA/LGOIMA requests at Ministry of Health" <[Ministry of Health request email]>
Date:        24/08/2020 03:07 pm
Subject:        Re: Information on the Interagency Committee on the Health
Effects of Non-ionising Fields

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ministry of Health,

Thank you for sending the list of members of the Interagency Committee for
the Health Effects of Non-Ionising Radiation.

The reason for my original OIA is that I have reason to believe that this
Committee is not fit for purpose. Given the vital role that this Committee
plays in advising the Ministry of Health on the levels of wireless
radiation to which the New Zealand public is exposed, it is of paramount
importance that this Committee is suitably-qualified, unbiased and
generally fit for purpose to carry out this crucial role.

It is of great concern to me that there is insufficient input by medical
professionals and biologists on this Committee.  It is, after all, a
Committee charged with the responsibility of advising on HEALTH effects of
the ever-increasing layers and levels of pulsed, non-ionising radiation.

In contrast, there is substantial input from government officials and
telecommunications industry representatives.

I do not think the membership of this Committee is conducive to its
providing high-quality, independent advice to the Ministry of Health about
the interaction of pulsed, non-ionising electromagnetic radiation with the
complex processes of the human body (many of which I understand are
regulated by minute electromagnetic fields).

It is certainly a big step forward to have some clarity about the
membership of this Committee. However, I believe it is of even greater
importance to have clarity about any employment/contractual links that
members of the Committee may have with the telecommunications industry.
 Any potential Conflicts of Interest should be declared publicly,
including on the Ministry of Health website. I have not yet been supplied
with this information, which was requested in my original OIA (see below).
In addition, for the New Zealand public to have confidence in this
Committee, there needs to be transparency about the way in which members
are appointed to this Committee and the criteria for selection. Simply
stating that the members are appointed by the Director-General of Health
is not providing an adequate level of transparency.

The release of the names of the Committee members is a step forward, but I
have major concerns about this Committee and I therefore request the
release of the information in items (b) and (c) in my original OIA
request.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Vaughan

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Ministry of Health


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Attachment H202006448 Michael Vaughan response letter.pdf
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Kia ora

Please find attached a letter regarding your request for information.

OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [email address]

show quoted sections

Link to this

D J Blair left an annotation ()

It's clear that three or four Ministry of health representatives would be overshadowed and out-voted amongst so many industry representives, who have no medical expertise and little motivation in the area of health. Even from the ministry we see the same names again, relationships already formed and questionable real empirical medical expertise as to biological effects. Conflict of interest could be raised with Martin Gledhill who has provided consultancy services to companies in the electricity and telecommunication industries and Sally Gilbert from the Ministry of Health who was part of the “Telecommunications Industry Reference Group” who wrote the report that formed the basis of the National Environmental Standard for Telecommunications Facilities (NESTF). She's no stranger to controversy, involved with contaminated housing and drinking water issues previously. What happened to the precautionary principle? It's application at the moment is causing the country to suffer great curtailment of rights regarding covid-19, yet no agency sees the need to apply it to 5G, what sort of public representitive would state that NO studies are neccessary before rolling out untested, new technology? Duty of care?

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