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Hand-held Laser misuse an on-going threat

Dr Cam Calder
National MP
31 January 2012

Hand-held Laser misuse an on-going threat

National MP Dr Cam Calder will continue his efforts to introduce a Members Bill to Parliament to control the use of hand-held laser pointer devices.

Dr Calder has long expressed his concern over the dangers posed to air traffic and communities surrounding airports through the misuse of laser devices. "In the wrong hands, over the counter hand-held lasers have the potential to cause considerable harm. They can cause permanent or temporary blindness and I am concerned at the frequency of their being misused and endangering lives, particularly when aimed at the pilots of aircraft," Calder reiterated.

This most recent event where 3 flights into Auckland Airport had their cockpits illuminated, and the Eagle helicopter was targeted, is the latest of 100 such incidents in New Zealand over the past year. In this case the offender has been found and is facing charges under the Crimes Act.

Dr Calder said, "I have consulted with the Civil Aviation Authority and Airline Pilots Association and drafted a Bill, designed to have a preventative impact and reduce the chances of laser misuse occurring. The Summary Offences (Possession of Hand-held Lasers) Amendment Bill will make it an offence to be in possession of a hand-held laser in a public place without reasonable excuse. It is my intention to introduce this Bill to the 50th Parliament as part of the ballot system, at the earliest opportunity."

Editors Note: The aim of this Bill is to have a preventative impact. When an offender is apprehended actually using a laser against a moving vehicle or aircraft, that person can be prosecuted under section 270 of the Crimes Act.

Authorised by Dr Cam Calder MP, 4 Station Rd, Manurewa

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