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Drones will help economy take off

Drones are estimated to be worth up to $7.9 billion to the economy, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said at the launch of the Government’s plan for drones.

The paper released today Taking Flight: an aviation system for the automated age, sets out the Government’s vision for how drones can be better integrated into the current transport system to develop a thriving, innovative and safe sector.

Phil Twyford said drones will deliver economic benefits by doing tasks that are time intensive, expensive, and risky – such as monitoring crops, inspecting power lines and helping with emergency operations.

“New Zealand has an opportunity to be at the forefront of drone technology with sectors like forestry, agriculture, and conservation already harnessing their abilities.

“An example of the innovation that’s already underway is Zephyr Airworks, who have partnered with Air New Zealand to test and develop its self-piloted, electric air taxi here in New Zealand.

“There are already over 77,000 drones in use in New Zealand and our Government knows that the public have concerns about privacy and safety.

“Safety is our top transport priority and there are a number of initiatives already underway, including looking at potential updates to the rules for using drones.

“The Ministry of Transport is currently consulting on potential new powers for law enforcement agencies to seize or detain drones that are breaking the rules.

“Our Government is tackling the long-term issues and we acknowledge getting the regulations right will take some time, but it’s important we take the time to get it right,” Phil Twyford said.

Note to editor:

As well as identifying the benefits drones can deliver, Taking Flight also sets out the challenges we need to manage to unlock the benefits of drones and keep New Zealanders safe.

 

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