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Bill To Help Aviation Recovery Take Off

Hon Michael Wood

Minister of Transport

The Civil Aviation Bill will enhance safety and security in the aviation sector and help position it for recovery from COVID-19, Transport Minister Michael Wood says.

The Bill passed its first reading today and repeals and replaces the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and the Airport Authorities Act 1966 with a single modern statute that’ll provide a platform for safety, security and reducing emissions.

Temporary government support has kept flights flying and freight flowing throughout the pandemic, but it’s important the sector has modern rules to give them a strong base to build back from,” Michael Wood said.

“Drones didn’t even exist when the previous legislation was written, let alone be widely available. We’re bringing in rules to give the Police the legal powers they need to take them down if required. We’ve seen airports shut down around the world due to malicious drone use and it’s important the authorities can take action.

“We know that operating aircraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be deadly. The Bill implements recommendations from the 2012 Carterton balloon incident and creates a zero-tolerance approach to strengthen the management of the risk of drug and alcohol use, including random testing.

“This Bill also enables New Zealand to meet our international obligations, including ensuring all growth in international flights is carbon neutral through carbon off-setting under CORSIA. This is another step we’re taking to reduce transport emissions and help meet our climate goals.

“I know the sector has been waiting some time for this Bill but this is a once in a generation chance to get the rules right. I encourage everyone to make a submission to the Select Committee,” Michael Wood said.

It is anticipated that the Bill will be passed next year.

Notes to editors

The Civil Aviation Bill’s main changes include:

  • reordering and restructuring the legislation, including combining the Civil Aviation Act and Airport Authorities Act into one statute
  • new provisions relating to drug and alcohol management
  • new provisions relating to the protection of safety information (Just Culture principles)
  • clarification of aviation security powers and ensuring that temporary landside security areas could be set up at airports if there is an imminent threat to security
  • new national security provisions
  • new powers for constables and response officers to act against unlawfully operated drones if no person is on board
  • new provisions relating to the authorisation of airline cooperative agreements
  • new provisions for airport registration and enforceable regulatory undertakings for airports
  • clarification that where airport land is surplus to requirements, it is the Chief Executive of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) who is responsible for undertaking the offer back process outlined in the Public Works Act (PWA).

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