The Ministry has published guidelines for testing and developing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, in New Zealand. UAS are rapidly gaining popularity, both for commercial and recreational use. They are being used a range of ways — in scientific research, engineering, film and TV production, photography, agriculture, power line inspection, and search and rescue work. In future, we may even see UAS being used for goods delivery.

The Government is committed to having a thriving and successful UAS sector in New Zealand, and would like to assist businesses interested in testing and developing UAS in New Zealand. Testing and developing UAS in New Zealand will have benefits for the country and encourage rapid uptake once they are commercially available.

New Zealand is a great place to test all forms of technology. Among its advantages are:

  • a risk-based regulatory framework, which enables innovative aircraft and applications
  • central and local government willingness to support trials
  • large, low-density airspace, with a wide range of geographic, climate and airspace conditions
  • ability to create areas of restricted airspace, available for the testing of UAS
  • a trusted, low cost business environment
  • a simple tax system
  • world-class universities and research centres
  • New Zealanders are keen builders and adopters of new technology
  • the appeal of the New Zealand lifestyle and culture.

The guidelines provide important information on the legal context for testing and developing UAS in New Zealand, and contact people who can help international companies establish a presence in this country.

More information and the guidelines can be accessed here: Testing and Developing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in New Zealand 

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