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Public Notices

  • 7 December 2016




    To provide guidance on the use of unmanned aircraft on or over Mackenzie District Council property and facilities.


    This policy covers all electric powered remote controlled model aircraft of the type commonly referred to as “drones” that are capable of vertical take-off and landing and small hand-launched gliders less than 1.5 metres in wing span (unmanned aircraft).

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

    The rules and permissions set out in this document do not cover the following:

    • Fixed-wing electric-powered model aircraft greater than one metre in wingspan;

    • Gliders greater than 1.5 metres in 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.


    As a requirement of Civil Aviation Rules Part 101, Mackenzie District Council grants consent for the flying of unmanned aircraft above property owned or occupied by Council as described below:

    a) A blanket consent is granted, without the need for individual applications, in the following circumstances:

    (i) Permission is granted to fly unmanned aircraft over Mackenzie District Council land, with the exception of:

    • Council offices;

    • Council land managed as plantation forest;

    • Council cemeteries;

    • Any Council land that is leased to another party (e.g. golf clubs, camping grounds, grazing licenses);

    • Any location on Council land during an organised gathering of people (including sports events);

    • Lake Alexandrina Bach settlements;

    • Formed Council roads;

    • Pukaki Airport;

    • Playgrounds; and

    • Water and sewer treatment plants and reservoirs.

    (ii) Where any Council land borders a private residence, flying shall not occur closer than ten metres to that boundary;

    (iii) The flying is carried out in a careful and considerate manner;

    (iv) The flying is carried out in a manner that complies with the Office of the Privacy Commissioners guidance on preserving peoples’ personal privacy by not flying over people or adjoining private property without their consent;

    (v) Flying shall not occur over or within 20 metres of livestock, or other users of the park or area;

    (vi) Flying shall not occur over or within 20 metres of any building on Council land;

    (vii) Flying shall not occur during a fire ban period; and

    (viii) Operators shall cease flying if requested by Council staff or a Council appointed contractor.

    b) For other Council controlled land, consent may be granted to fly for a specific purpose and timeframe where the application is received in advance during normal working hours. This consent approval is delegated to the Manager responsible for controlling that land. Council may charge a fee for processing applications.

    c) Where Council consent is granted in a) or b) the person (or persons) operating the remotely piloted aircraft is/are not exempt from other aspects of the Civil Aviation Rules. This includes but is not limited to obtaining consent from any people in the area, restrictions on mass (weight) of the aircraft, the requirement to operate not less than four kilometres from an aerodrome, the need to fly below the minimum specified height, and the requirement to fly within unobstructed line of sight in daylight.

    d) The use of an unmanned aircraft for Search and Rescue, and Emergency Services operations are exempt from the requirements contained within a) and b).


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