Drones and other remotely piloted aircraft systems have the
potential to become useful agricultural tools for farmers
and the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand is looking
for feedback on draft proposals for their use.
The use of drones as an agricultural tool is likely to
become more popular in the future but Federated Farmers (FFNZ)
is concerned there is the potential for misuse around privacy
The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAANZ) has
released a draft paper looking at the regulation of remotely
piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).
CAANZ communications manager Mike Richards said while the
CAANZ already had controls in place it was aware the use of
RPAS was growing.
''New Zealand is actually keeping pace and in some cases
slightly ahead of a number of developed countries in the
world with its response to RPAS use,'' Mr Richards said.
''We align with international conventions, which come through
the International Civil Aviation Organisation [ICAO], and
have a CAANZ representative on the committee that is
developing oversight guidelines for its 190 member states.''
The draft document, ''Interim Approach to the Regulations of
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems'', is available on the
CAANZ's website and has been sent to key stakeholders for
FFNZ general manager policy and advocacy Mark Ross said the
new technology was an exciting new area of technology for
farmers but he was unaware of any working groups in place to
discuss the issues surrounding RPAS use.
''Once the CAANZ get the initial feedback [on the draft
proposals], they will go from there,'' Mr Ross said.
The authority is hoping to release a more formal document in
In the FFNZ's submission it said drones ''have the potential
to benefit the agricultural sector in a variety of ways [eg
monitoring stock, herding stock, aerial spraying,
video/photography for agricultural research etc] and, as with
any new technology, along with the benefits RPAS promise,
there is also potential for misuse''.
Key concerns for farmers were privacy and security. The
submission said ''it is not clear what protection rural
landowners have from illegitimate use of RPAS under current
''There will be problems and conflict if individuals begin to
conduct their own surveillance operations that risk
landowner's privacy, security and their personal and property
FFNZ would like to see all areas of policy relating to RPAS
developed simultaneously, and include agencies such as the
Ministry of Justice and Privacy Commissioner, to work
together to discuss the issues. This would mean the rules
being developed by the CAANZ would not inadvertently
''authorise RPAS operators who intend to use their aircraft
for illegitimate purposes''.
FFNZ also wants the definition of the difference between
recreational and non-recreational RPAS to be clearer, and it
supports the provision of a communications and education
programme for best practice for users.
''Federated Farmers wants to ensure that any proposed
controls around the use of RPAS will not hinder agricultural
innovation and/or prevent RPAS from being utilised to their
full potential on farm.''
'There is resistance in the agricultural sector to promising
new or experimental technology if it comes with the
additional compliance costs or overbearing requirements for
safety and risk management.''
''It is particularly important that any controls developed
are appropriate, do not unnecessarily burden users with
significant compliance costs, and are the most cost-effective
controls necessary to address the safety risks associated
with RPAS use.''