Submissions open on drone regulation

5 October 2021

The Civil Aviation Bill, which includes proposed changes to the way drones are regulated in New Zealand, passed its first reading on 1 October, and is now open for submissions. The closing date for submissions is 11 November 2021.

The proposed reforms would clarify drone operators' responsibilities, as well as creating new consequences for misuse (as part of broader measures to reform the regulation of the civil aviation sector). For more information, see our previous update on the Bill and the proposed changes here.

Drones have the potential to make significant changes to how New Zealanders do business and transport goods, and could create extensive benefits for various industries. These include agritech, utilities, public safety, FMCG logistics, and – as noted during the First Reading – “different emerging technologies” that are “not yet discovered”. In introducing the Bill, David Clark explained that the proposed framework is intended to offer “a more flexible regime that is fit for purpose now but allows for the kinds of changes that might be required in the future.”

The Minister of Transport Michael Wood has welcomed the Bill as a “once in a generation chance to get the rules right.” We anticipate that any business which relies on fast and efficient delivery, logistics, or monitoring systems, is likely to have an interest in submitting on the Bill.

If you would like further details, or assistance in making submissions before 11 November 2021, please get in touch with the authors or your usual Bell Gully advisor.

Disclaimer: This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.