Bay News column

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Last week I talked about innovation and how technology has changed the way we live. An example of this is the increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), for both work and play. I know of several businesses in Tauranga who are either already using them or are seriously considering it.

UAVs are being used to film events like weddings, in the real estate industry to showcase properties, and there is potential for their use in search and rescue operations. Although a great innovation, some concerns have been raised relating to privacy and safety. Last Thursday Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss and I launched new Civil Aviation rules to regulate the use of UAVs. Anyone who wants to operate a UAV at night, beyond line of sight, or above 400 feet will require certification from the Civil Aviation Authority.

We are one of the first countries in the world to respond to this emerging technology and establish regulations specifically regarding the use of UAVs. These rules will encourage the uptake of this new technology, while also ensuring public safety and personal privacy.

On Friday I am looking forward to attending the tribute dinner for Sir Colin Meads. I have had the privilege of meeting Sir Colin on a number of occasions. Perhaps more remarkable than his efforts on the rugby field is the way he selflessly gives his time and knowledge to anyone who asks for it. He has been a huge supporter of the Tauranga Police Charity Auction for a number of years and has been a significant contributor to the Bay of Plenty community.