Drones banned on Waikato District Council reserves

Brin Hitchens and his drone that Waikato District Council won't let him fly.


Brin Hitchens and his drone that Waikato District Council won’t let him fly.

A Waikato council has banned the flying of model aircraft and drones on its reserves without permission.

Ngaradrone aerial photography business owner Brin Hitchens, of Ngaruawahia, described Waikato District Council’s reserve management plan as draconian.

The management plan prohibits “the use of model aircraft and UAV on reserves unless required for reserve management purposes, search and rescue (including search and rescue training) or as provided for in the specific policies of individual or group reserve management plans”.

The persistent and uncontrolled use of model aircraft can have negative effects on neighbours and other park users, including noise and the potential for injury, the plan said. The recreational and commercial use of UAVs is becoming more commonplace and will no doubt increase as technology improves and vehicles reduce in cost.

“UAV can mean drone, ball, frisbee, balloon, paper dart or anything that is airborne without anyone on board,” Hitchens said.

“I have been handed a 30-page listing of all the areas this relates to – some 1000 areas.”

Hitchens bought a $23 toy drone online to demonstrate what he called the silliness of the policy.

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