Given that this is an election year, in May 2014, I prepared a formal Election Questionnaire on behalf of www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz and sent it to all the parties I knew to be contesting the 2014 general election.

For the record, I am neither a member of any political party, nor a donor to any political party.

Below is the response from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (http://www.alcp.org.nz/) For a more general discussion of the 2014 Election Questionnaire and links to replies from other parties contesting the 2014 general election, please see this link: https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/2014-election-questionnaire-2/

A general discussion of the responses from some political parties may be found at this link:   https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/2014-election-questionnaire-general-discussion/   (Reading this link is recommended for people who are new to the “smart meter” issue as it helps to put the statements made in some of the party responses into the overall context of the “smart meter” situation in NZ.)

Links to other political parties responses to the 2014 Election Questionnaire may be found at this link:

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/2014-election-questionnaire-2/

 

The response from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is below:

www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz

Political Parties’ Questionnaire (2014)

 

The new “smart meters” being introduced to measure electricity and water consumption use radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave range to transmit information to electricity and water suppliers. The RFR used has been classified by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a “possible carcinogen” (Type 2b.)

The website www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz provides New Zealanders with a local source of information about “smart meters” in NZ. It covers health, privacy and other “smart-meter”-related issues that are important to families and businesses.

The www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz questionnaire will be sent to all political parties and the results will be posted on www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz and will also be featured in the regular newsletters sent to the email list.

 

Please reply to this questionnaire by June 15, 2014. Thank you.

Replies may be emailed to [removed to prevent spamming]

Name of political party: Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

Name of person completing the form:           Julian Crawford

Position in political party:               Leader                                          Email: [removed to prevent spamming]

 

 

Question 1: Does your party have a formal policy on “smart meters”. YES

If YES, is your party’s policy on “smart meters” available online at your party’s website? NO

If YES, please put URL where this information may be accessed: It will be announced during the election campaign.

 

Question 2: Does your party support the introduction of “smart” meters for electricity?

 

NO  

 

Why or Why not?

Our main concern is the lack of choice given to consumers about adopting smart meters and the potential privacy risks.

 

Question 3: The current legislation only stipulates the electricity meters must have a current certificate of accuracy, yet some power companies are using this legislation to force people to have “smart meters”. Does your party support the right of people to retain a functioning analogue (Ferraris) meter if they do not want a microwave-radiation emitting “smart meter” measuring electricity consumption at their home?

YES

 

Why or Why not?

Our party is fundamentally based on principles of personal responsibility and freedom of choice. No one should be forced to use certain technology against their will.

 

Question 4: Some electricity companies are trying to coerce customers into accepting “smart meters” by including in their Terms and Conditions clauses to the effect that the customer must accept a “smart meter” (the inference being that their electricity could be cut off if they do not accept a “smart meter”.) Will your party change the relevant legislation/regulations to make it illegal for companies to try to intimidate customers to accept “smart meters” through such means?

 

YES

 

Why or Why not?

It should be made illegal for power companies to force smart meters onto customers because that violates their human rights and freedoms. Only people who consent should be allowed to use smart meters.

Question 5: Members of the public have reported to www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz that once a “smart meter” has been installed it can be very difficult to get it removed, even when it is causing health issues. Will your party make changes to the relevant legislation/regulations so that companies are legally obliged to remove “smart meters” promptly (and replace them with either a modern analogue – Ferraris – meter or another non-smart meter of the customer’s choice) when a customer makes a request for the removal of a “smart meter”?

 

YES

 

Why or Why not?

If a customer has concerns about their smart meter for health or any other grounds then the power company should be obliged to remove them and replace them with a traditional meter. They should be able to withdraw their consent for the smart meter at any time, for any reason.

 

 

Question 6: In their Terms and Conditions, some electricity companies claim to own all data gathered by “smart meters” and the right to disclose it to other parties. We believe that this is a significant breach of privacy. Will your party change the legislation/regulations governing the electricity industry so that data gathered by “smart meters” may be used only for billing purposes and make it an offence to supply this information to any other party (with the exception of the account holder and the police if there is cause to believe that there is/was criminal activity at a home or other building.)

 

YES

Why/Why not?

There are significant privacy concerns around smart meters because they record a precise signal from each individual electronic appliance. This means that the power company can pie together what you are doing at any given point in time. It would be reckless to allow this data to be sold to third parties. Not only is this a gross violation of privacy it is also a means for mass surveillance of the population. We would have reservations about police accessing the data unless they have just cause to obtain a search warrent for a specific crime.

For example people growing cannabis indoors for medical or recreational reasons could be identified and arrested on a mass scale.

 

 

Question 7: Given that the RFR produced by “smart meters” is a possible type 2 carcinogen, does your party support a moratorium on further “smart meter” installations until comprehensive research has been conducted into “smart meter” health effects?

 

YES

 

Why/Why not?

More research is needed into the harms of RFR and other electromagnetic radiation caused by wireless devices.

 

 

Question 8: Given that the EPEC Report states that “a sensible approach” is to site “smart meters” somewhere where people are “unlikely to spend longer than a few minutes per day at a distance of less than 1 metre from them,” does your party support a ban on placing “smart meters” on bedroom walls?

 

YES

 

Why/Why not?

If people want to use smart meters they should be placed as far as possible from bedrooms and other area where people are present.

 

 

Question 9: Does your party support the introduction of “smart” meters for water?

 

NO

 

Why/Why not?

 

Metered water is just another unnecessary financial burden on the taxpayers or ratepayers.

 

Thank you for your time.

 

 Postscript:

In 2013 Beth Karlin from the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs was invited to speak at a small marketing department seminar at the University of Otago. She was speaking about how smart meters had met a lot of resistance in the US and she was working on communicating about smart meters in a way that would make their roll-out smoother in New Zealand.

She dismissed the health concerns as essentially conspiracy theories but failed to address the privacy concerns. She promoted smart meters as a way for people to monitor their own usage and see which appliances are using the most power. It’s based on an environmental angle of reducing power consumption.

Beth spoke about how Mercury Energy was rolling outsmart meters to all homes regardless of whether the customer wanted them. This would be followed by the larger power companies. They aim to bring them in quietly with as little resistance as possible.

http://socialecology.uci.edu/students/grad/bkarlin

 

Regards,

Julian Crawford

ALCP Leader