New Zealand: What is all the buzz about the recent drone regulations in NZ?

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (the CAA) released new rules for the flying of unmanned aircraft beginning 1 August 2015. The changes were aimed at drone operators and are found in Part 101 and Part 102 of the Civil Aviation Rules (the Rules).

Reasons for the changes are fairly obvious: there has been a huge growth in the development and use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) (ie 'drones') and concerns have been raised regarding violations of privacy and the dangers that flying objects pose to people and property should the drone operator lose control. The changes were implemented to try and improve aviation safety for operators, airspace users and for the general public and their property.

All drone operations must now be carried out in accordance with Part 101 and/or 102 of the Rules. The new rules prescribe more explicit constraints upon the use of drones than was previously the case.

The Rules are separated into two parts. Part 101 is the starting point and applies to the operation of a drone of 25kg or under that fully complies with all the rules set out in Part 101. The operation of any drone that is more than 25kg OR does not comply with any of the other rules set out in Part 101 is governed by Part 102. The main distinction between the two parts is that under Part 102 the operator is required to be certified by the CAA in order to operate the drone.

What are the key requirements for operating drones?

There are 12 key requirements that drone operators should be aware of (a list of these can be found on https://www.airshare.co.nz/rules). They include rules relating to where, how, when and above what property drones can be operated. All drone operations must comply with these rules unless an exemption is given by the CCA (by an application for a operator's Part 102 certificate).

The change likely to affect most drone operators is the requirement to get consent from those people or properties that the drone will fly over. If the drone is going to fly over someone's private property, you need to make sure that is okay with them first, just as you would if you wanted to walk through their property.

If you want to fly over public land, make sure you contact the local council or organisation that owns the land first to check their requirements. Some spaces will be specifically dedicated to drone activity and a special permit to fly there will not be needed. However, some parks may require you to apply for consent from the council each time you want to fly.

What if you can't operate your drone safely under the rules in Part 101?

If you can't operate your drone safely under the Part 101 rules then you must apply for a Part 102 certificate. The certificate allows the CAA to tailor specific safety and operational requirements to each proposed Part 102 drone operation. For example, flights such as Fastway Courier's highly publicised drone parcel delivery in Auckland in June 2015 will now require a special Part 102 certificate if they are to occur.

Applications for a Part 102 certificate should be made to the CAA. That will require the applicant to submit an 'exposition' detailing how they will mitigate the risks posed by the operation of their drone. You can find forms and templates for the exposition on the CAA website.

Operators must comply with the restrictions of their certificate or risk penalties.

What penalties may operators face for breaching the Rules?

Any breach of the Rules may be acted on by the CAA who can confiscate the drone and/or issue an infringement notice. Operators need to take care because fines and even criminal prosecution may be on the cards if the CAA deems it a serious enough breach of the Rules.

While there have been no prosecutions under the new regulations to date in New Zealand, there have been warnings by local authorities.
In New Zealand a number of fines have been issued under the old regulations, including:

  • A $500 fine to a Taupo man for flying too close to an airport;
  • A $1000 fine to an Aucklander for flying their drone over Auckland City at nighttime; and
  • A $500 fine to an Invercargill man for flying at dusk and too close to an airport.

With increasing regulation and drone ownership, it seems only a matter of time before NZ sees its first drone prosecution.

It is important to be aware that operators could still face penalties even if they inadvertently breach the Rules. This occurred in a recent UK decision: The United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority v Robert Knowles (unreported, 2014). Here, Mr Knowles was operating his drone legally in a wide open field. However, during the flight his remote lost radio contact with the drone and it flew out of his control for three minutes, flying within 50m of a bridge and over a nuclear facility before crashing in a river channel. Mr Knowles was prosecuted and fined £800 plus court costs of £3,500.

Where to from here?

The new Rules mean New Zealand's reputation as having a friendly (and relatively loose) legislative environment for testing drones may now be in jeopardy as more requirements accompany each operation. Operators need to make sure that they understand the new Rules, particularly the new consent requirements. However, commentary from those operating in the drone space appears to be optimistic that the Part 102 certificate will allow one-off test flights to continue, ensuring New Zealand's place at the forefront of drone technology continues.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions