Some Feedback From The Ministry of Transport Meeting 27 June 2019

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The Ministry of Transport (MoT) held a short forum in Wellington on 27 June 2019 from 3pm-5pm. The aim of this event was to get attendees on the same page when it comes to what the Government is doing in the drones area. They had CAA, MBIE and Airways speaking at this event, and also invited us, UAVNZ, to talk about who we are, what we do, what our future plans are and what we need from government.
In a ten-minute presentation we shared some of the background of UAVNZ and some of its highlights since our inception in April 2014. The very successful bi-annual symposiums we organised, the 102-operators’ get-togethers, and the launch of our current website which offers a wealth of information and means to interact with each other.
We also talked about our objectives, which have remained largely the same over the years, namely Connecting, Promoting and Supporting in order to, together, maximise the benefits from UAV technologies and develop a world-class commercial UAV industry in New Zealand. We repeated our key-words: Collaboration, Education, Enablement, Quality, Safety, Sustainability.
We also shared some of the challenges we have faced, especially after Chris Thomson from Callaghan Innovation moved on, who was freed up by the government (Callaghan Innovation) in the initial years (2013-eo 2015) to setup this industry association and drive it forward. After he left, we have relied only on volunteers who are passionate about the industry and bring great skill and intention, but who also have day jobs/run businesses and therefor have limited time available. We could achieve so much more if we’d have a person dedicated to executing our (members) ideas and aspirations.
So this was one of the points we brought forward when we talked about what we need from government. We had also prepared a spiel about how we need more direction from government, a clear vision, a strategy and allocated resources to build the structure and parameters the industry needs, and how we need more allocated resource in CAA to assist the professional operators. But prior to our presentation, MoT had shared about their vision, strategy and newly allocated resources, and CAA had announced that they had added an extra 3 people to their drone team.
Naturally we are stoked with these announcements and look forward to the succinct leadership we are now promised and which we need from government to achieve our mutual goals and capitalise on the incredible opportunity UAV’s (drones) have on offer for New Zealand. We will certainly hold them accountable and will request for additional resources for UAVNZ to add further value.
MoT has promised to publish all the materials from the day on their website and to make a link available to a survey that asks questions about future events. As soon as this is accomplished, we will publish the link here.