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Successful first three months of laser controls

Successful first three months of laser controls

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew says new controls introduced 1 March 2014 restricting the sale of high powered laser pointers are settling in.

“In the last three months, health officers have monitored online auction sites and visited over 80 retailers nationwide to remind them of the ban and to remove high powered lasers from shop shelves,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The law limits sales of lasers to those under 1mW in power. However, many lasers are still being sold that have either incorrect or no information about their strength.”

The Ministry of Health recently tested 22 suspected high powered lasers, eight of which had no labels, and found 17 were over the legal strength.

“Customs have also seized ten high powered lasers from seven different attempts to bring them into the country,” says Mrs Goodhew.

Concern about laser strikes on aircraft, which have been increasing in recent years, was a key driver for the introduction of the new controls.

“Early data seems to show that the number of laser strikes on aircraft have plateaued at the same level as last year,” says Mrs Goodhew.

To mid-May this year, 37 laser strikes on aircraft have been reported to the Civil Aviation Authority, on a par with the 116 laser strikes recorded for all of 2013.

“Where high powered lasers are needed for legitimate purposes, an application can be made to the Ministry of Health,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“So far, the Ministry has received nine applications to import, supply or acquire a high powered laser pointer, of which five have been approved, and one is still being considered.”

More information on laser pointers, the controls and how to apply for authorisation are available on the Ministry of Health website www.moh.govt.nz


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