By Eric Crampton 10/12/2015


In Country A, a company launches a “delivers beer in one hour” service in a major city.

There are lots of other delivery services around, but this one has one-hour service (which some other delivery companies have) and it’s from a large company. It attracts some notice but noticeable objection.

In Country B, a company tries to launch a “delivers beer in one hour” service in a major city. There are other delivery services around, but this one has one-hour service.

The medical profession, who seems to reckon that you shouldn’t be able to do anything without their say-so, scream about increased availability of alcohol. You start to suspect that, had pizza delivery not been invented yet, they’d try to ban it if it were a new thing: faster access to fatty foods, and who really needs pizza in a hurry anyway? Outcome: the service gets pulled.

I’m starting to think I’m on the wrong side of the asylum wall.

Meanwhile, while New Zealand’s rules for commercial drone operators seem to make more sense than those in the US, it’s basically impossible to mess around with a drone anywhere near a city unless you file a flight path with air traffic control or unless you stay below the nearest tallest thing that is less than 100 meters away from where you are. Here’s AirShare’s excellent user resource.

I’d previously posted on drones, worrying that it wouldn’t be allowed in any parks. AirShare helpfully lists where it is allowed, and Wellington Council is fine with your using a drone in a park, so long as you aren’t bothering anyone else.

But if there isn’t something tall within 100 meters of your drone, then you need to get Air Traffic Control permission. Possibly days in advance. In a city where the winds are unpredictable.

Simon Bridges likely reckons that he’s developed top-notch regulations around commercial drone use. But the rules around personal use have put drones off my Christmas list this year.

We’d have to drive about an hour to muck around properly with a toy that has maybe a 15-minute battery life – that’s close enough to a ban to make little difference. If I’m out with the kids and playing drones with them, how can I guarantee they don’t go a bit higher than whatever handy tree happens to be nearby, or stray more than 100 meters away from it?

One wonders where the commercial drone operators enabled by the regime will ever find pilots if The Rules have killed off the hobbyists.

Featured image: Flickr CC, nicolas michaud.