Interim Policy Giving Consent to Fly Unmanned Aircraft over Council Land

This page outlines where you can and can't fly drones, model aircraft and other unmanned aircraft over Council land. Policy effective from 15 September 2015.

Policy Summary

Provided you follow the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) operating rules and subject to conditions*, you have Tasman District Council’s permission to fly unmanned aircraft over Council land, with the exception of:

  • Council offices and libraries;
  • Council land managed as plantation forest;
  • Mapua precinct and wharf area, and Waterfront Park;
  • Washbourn Gardens;
  • Pethybridge Rose Gardens;
  • Takaka Memorial Gardens;
  • Council cemeteries;
  • Motueka sandspit (Council owned portion. Refer to the Department of Conservation on rules for its portion of the spit);
  • any Council land that is leased to another party (e.g. bowling greens, tennis courts, grazing licences); and
  • any location on Council land during an organised gathering of people (including sporting events).

 Council may consider specific requests to fly over these areas. 

If you want to fly over land within the 4km zones around aerodromes, you will either need to stick to shielded operation (stay low), or obtain permission from the aerodrome operator and comply with their requirements. The Council’s Property Services Manager is the aerodrome operator for the Motueka Aerodrome.

*Tasman District Council conditions when flying unmanned aircraft over Council land

  • Comply with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner guidance on preserving peoples’ personal privacy by not flying over other people or adjoining private property without their consent.
  • Be courteous of other park users, who often are there for the quiet enjoyment of the park.
  • Do not operate over a sports field if in use by others.
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of or be flown over other users of a park or livestock.
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of sensitive wildlife habitats (such as coastal or river margins).
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of nesting or roosting birds (such as godwits, banded rail, terns, NZ dotterel).
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of, or be flown over, any building on Council land.
  • Do not operate during a fire ban period.
  • Cease operation if requested by Council staff.
  • Any person proposing to use unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes must obtain specific permission from Council.

Any breach of the above conditions could result in termination of your permission to fly unmanned aircraft over Council land. 

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Introduction

Property owner consent is required to fly drones/UAVs/model aircraft over land that is owned, managed or leased by Council. This page outlines the interim approach Tasman District Council is taking to property owner consent. The interim approach will be reviewed once national guidance from Local Government New Zealand becomes available.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates civil aviation in New Zealand, and sets the rules around the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), model aircraft and drones – unmanned aircraft. 

New rules introduced by the CAA came into effect on 1 August 2015. These rules require people to obtain approval from the land owner or the occupier of the land you want to fly over. This rule comes in addition to the existing CAA and Air Traffic Control rules on where and how you can fly unmanned aircraft, and what permissions you need to get before doing so.

  • The Council isn’t responsible for setting, monitoring or enforcing these rules, but we are summarising them here in an attempt to make them clearer to users, especially casual UAV/drone operators.

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Where Can I Fly and What Permissions Do I Need?

General CAA rules and Air Traffic Control

Part of Tasman District (including Rabbit Island, the Waimea Plains, Eves Valley and parts of Redwood Valley and the Richmond Range) sits below the Nelson controlled airspace. This means that if you want to fly anything in that airspace, you need permission from Air Traffic Control.

In addition, CAA defines four-kilometre zones around all aerodromes, where the use of the airspace is further restricted.  In these zones, you need to have a pilot licence (or to be accompanied by someone who does) in addition to having permission from Air Traffic Control. This restriction applies specifically to any aerodrome listed in the Aeronautical Publication of New Zealand.  These aerodromes are shown on the map linked to below.

In the case of the 4km zone around the Motueka Aerodrome, ‘Flight Restriction Zones’ have been established to protect aircraft using this aerodrome. Within the Purple flight restriction zone you can fly up to 20 metres above sea level without prior approval. If you want to fly higher than 20 metres above sea level you will also need permission from The Property Services Manager at Council (he is the Motueka Aerodrome Operator).

To obtain authorisation from Air Traffic Control, register and log your flights on the Airshare UAV hub. The hub also provides a wealth of other information, including links to the CAA rules and news on the UAV industry.

Exemption: Shielded Operations 

You don’t need to get a pilot licence or Air Traffic Control authorisation if you’re flying as a “shielded operation” which CAA defines as “an operation of an aircraft within 100m of, and below the top of, a natural or man-made object”.  This means you can fly your unmanned aircraft in Tasman District as long as you keep your aircraft lower than the highest tree / building / ridge within 100m of where you’re standing. 

But you need to have permission from landowners first.

Landowner / Occupier Permission

The new rules introduced by the CAA require people to obtain approval from the landowner or the occupier of the land you want to fly over. What this means:

On Private Land

Fly over your own property or get permission from whoever owns / occupies / is in charge of the land you want to fly over.

On land owned, managed or leased by Council (including parks and reserves)

Provided you follow the CAA operating rules and subject to Council’s conditions (set out below), you have Tasman District Council’s permission to fly unmanned aircraft over Council land, with the exception of:

  • Council offices and libraries;
  • Council land managed as plantation forest;
  • Mapua precinct and wharf area, and Waterfront Park;
  • Washbourn Gardens;
  • Pethybridge Rose Gardens;
  • Takaka Memorial Gardens;
  • Council cemeteries;
  • Motueka sandspit (Council owned portion. Refer to the Department of Conservation on rules for its portion of the spit);
  • any Council land that is leased to another party (e.g. bowling greens, tennis courts, grazing licences); and
  • any location on Council land during an organised gathering of people (including sporting events).

Council may consider specific requests to fly over these areas. 

If you want to fly over land within the 4km zones around aerodromes, you will either need to stick to shielded operation (stay low), or obtain permission from the aerodrome operator and comply with their requirements. Council’s Property Services Manager is the aerodrome operator for the Motueka Aerodrome.

The CAA rule also says you need to get consent from any person you want to fly over (this can be given verbally). 

CAA rules also have an overriding requirement to not operate in a manner that is hazardous to people or property.

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Rules for Flying

Other rules and conditions apply, whether you’re flying with or without a pilot licence and authorisation from Air Traffic Control/the aerodrome operator. We advise people to always read the rules in full, along with the relevant advisory circulars on the CAA website. The advisory circulars aim to help people interpret the rules and understand how to comply with them.

CAA operating rules

  • never fly higher than 120 metres / 400 feet above ground level
  • only fly during daylight hours
  • always fly within visual line of sight – you need to be able to see the aircraft with your own eyes at all times (i.e. not through binoculars, a monitor, or smartphone) 
  • at all times take all practicable steps to minimize hazards to persons, property and other aircraft (i.e. don’t do anything hazardous). Give way to all other aircraft, and have abort systems in place in the event of a system failure (know how your aircraft will behave if a failure occurs)

If you are concerned that these rules are being breached, please contact the CAA on <isi@caa.govt.nz or phone 0508 4SAFETY.  If there is an imminent threat to people or property, please contact the Police.

Tasman District Council conditions when flying unmanned aircraft over Council land

  • Comply with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner guidance on preserving peoples’ personal privacy by not flying over other people or adjoining private property without their consent.
  • Be courteous of other park users, who often are there for the quiet enjoyment of the park.
  • Do not operate over a sports field if in use by others.
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of or be flown over other users of a park or livestock.
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of sensitive wildlife habitats (such as coastal or river margins).
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of nesting or roosting birds (such as godwits, banded rail, terns, NZ dotterel).
  • Do not operate within 20 metres of, or be flown over, any building on Council land.
  • Do not operate during a fire ban period.
  • Cease operation if requested by Council staff.
  • Any person proposing to use unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes must obtain specific permission from Council.

Any breach of the above conditions could result in termination of your permission to use Council land for the above purposes. 

Privacy Act 

You also need to comply with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner guidance on preserving peoples’ personal privacy by not flying over other people using the park or over adjoining private property without their consent. Note that the Privacy Commissioner’s CCTV guidelines apply to how someone might use drones fitted with cameras and comply with the Privacy Act.

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What Types of Aircraft can you Fly over Council Land?

You are only permitted to fly unmanned aircraft weighing less than 25kgs on public land. However, anyone operating an unmanned aircraft that weighs between 15 - 25kgs must be a member of an organisation approved by the CAA (e.g. Model Flying New Zealand).

The rules and permissions set out on this page cover electric-powered, remote-controlled model aircraft commonly referred to as “drones” that are capable of vertical take-off and landing. They also cover small hand-launched gliders less than 1.5m wing span. 

The rules and permissions set out on this page do not cover the following:

  • Fixed-wing electric-powered model aircraft greater than 1m wing span;
  • Gliders greater than 1.5m wingspan and bungee-launched gliders; 
  • All internal combustion engine (petrol)-powered aircraft; or
  • All jet-powered models.

These types of unmanned aircraft can only be flown on private property or officially recognised sites under the control of approved operators, such as model aircraft clubs.

What about flying my kite?

 As long as your kite is moored (i.e. you have it on a string) and kept under 120m / 400ft, you can fly it where you like so long as it is used carefully and you take into consideration nearby people, stock and wildlife.

More Information

If you require any other information, please contact our Property Officers

Read up on CAA rules

Civil Aviation Authority website

Map it out

Visual Navigation Charts available from airways.co.nz

Get authorisation

Airshare UAV hub - via Airshare.co.nz

Check before you fly

Controlled airspace and 4km zones - Map on the Airshare website

Know your responsibilities

Duties of pilot-in-command from legislation.govt.nz

Use the right frequencies

Frequencies legal for unmanned aircraft - from the Radio Spectrum Management website

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