Drones flown in helicopter flight path at Franz Josef heliport 'a huge risk' to safety, police warn

Drones being flown in the helicopter flight path at Franz Josef's heliport have prompted a warning from police that the practice could result in fines of up to $35,000.

A man decided to fly a drone recreationally at 300 to 400 metres in the flight path at the Glacier Country Heliport about midday yesterday, said Constable Brent Whittington.

Police received a report of this from the heliport manager who was extremely concerned as aircraft arrive at the heliport regularly and the drone was being flown directly over the landing pads, he said.

The drone user had no knowledge of the controlled airspace or rules surrounding the operation of drones, and had not sought authorisation from the property owner to use the drone in this area, Constable Whittington said.

It was the second time people flying drones inappropriately have been spoken to by police in one week, he said.

On top of that another four sightings had been noted by members of the public in the two weeks leading up to yesterday's incident.

On this occasion, the drone was stopped before it caused any problems, police spoke to the man and he was given a formal warning.

Glacier Country Heliport is one of the busiest heliports in New Zealand, with up to 15 helicopters operating at any one time. 

"Our whole community needs the heliport to operate safely and the unauthorised use of drones is potentially a huge risk to that," Constable Whittington said. 

The heliport is taking steps to prevent drone flight in the danger zones, including installing signs on the state highways and heliport perimeter to help raise awareness.

Heliport manager Vicky Whittington told 1 NEWS NOW safety is paramount and drones are not welcome.

Franz Josef glacier Source: 1 NEWS



Pedestrian hit by car outside Auckland mall, two others injured

A pedestrian has been hit by a car in Auckland outside a shopping centre.

The crash happened at 4.30pm in Glenfield, with police saying a person is in a serious condition. 

Two others have minor to moderate injuries, say police. 

Glenfield Rd has been closed, and police say they expect it will not open "for some time". 

Source: 1 NEWS


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John Key spreads his wings to join Air New Zealand Board

Former Prime Minister John Key is joining the board of Air New Zealand.

Chairman Tony Carter says the board has been actively searching for a director with strong international business experience and a deep knowledge of tourism for around a year.

It's appointing Mr Key effective from September 1.

"When John Key announced he was stepping down as Prime Minister and moving to a new phase of life outside of politics, it became a priority for the Board to try to secure his services as a Director," Mr Carter said in a statement.

"John will bring extensive international commercial experience, outstanding leadership skills, global perspective and a keen understanding of the tourism sector gained during the years he was Tourism Minister as well as Prime Minister of New Zealand."

Mr Key says he is delighted to have been approached by the Air New Zealand Board to join it.

"Air New Zealand is an incredible company that has significant opportunities ahead of it and I look forward to working with the Board, Chief Executive Officer and his Executive team to see it fulfil its potential," the former PM said. 

Mr Key served as Prime Minister for eight years before he stood down last December in decision that took New Zealanders by surprise and he left Parliament altogether in March. 

Meantime, Air New Zealand has also announced that its longest serving Director, Paul Bingham, will be retiring at the annual shareholders' meeting in September.

The former prime minister admits, at the end of the day, it's unlikely he'll be remembered as a big reformer. Source: 1 NEWS


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