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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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It is not about safety

17 June 2019

In a tragic accident, two people have died on the weekend after a mid-air collision between two aircraft near Hood aerodrome in New Zealand.

This is not the first mid-air collision between manned aircraft to have taken a toll in human life, nor will it be the last.

The remarkable thing about all these mid-air tragedies is that obviously, the pilots can not see something as large and obvious as another aircraft in the skies around them.

Yet oddly enough, we are expected to believe that pilots *can* see tiny drones through their cockpit windows, even at remarkable distances.

Sound a but sus?

Yes, yes it is.

In the wake of yet another mid-air tragedy involving manned aircraft colliding, one could almost be forgiven for suggesting that CAA and other government agencies are ignoring the huge problems in favour of "fixing" problems that don't exist, except in the imagination of the media and ignorant politicians. Yes, I'm talking about drones of course.

But this weekend, the *real* reason why governments around the world are clamping down on the recreational use of drones was demonstrated in an incredibly dramatic way.

The video below clearly demonstrates exactly why it is that the USA, Australia, Canada, the UK (and soon New Zealand) are engaging in ridiculously draconian regulatory-overreach on the issue of recreational drone use.

Please, take a moment to watch this video -- it's quite short but it is a powerful statement regarding the threat that mainland China now represents to the people of Hong Kong.

In my humble opinion, as of this time, the video above is the single most important drone video ever published.

It paints a powerful, poignant, evocative picture of the situation existing in Hong Kong over the threats being made by the Chinese government.

The swooping footage taken by the drone as it flew over the crowd of more than a million people showed the hope and solidarity being demonstrated. Yes, you could have gotten similar (albeit static) shots from the window of a surrounding hi-rise but they would have lacked the ability to truly show the sea of individuals and how it spread throughout the streets.

The shots taken from just inches above the heads of police who were using rubber bullets, tear-gas, flash grenades and batons to disperse the crowd were again, perspectives that only a drone could offer.

Flying through the emptying streets and clouds of wafting gas presented a dystopian scene fit for any sci-fi blockbuster.

But all of this is real life. A dramatically documented view of the events that have unfolded -- without the bias or commercial agenda of the mainstream media.

The truth was exposed for all to see - the Chinese government were sent an incredibly strong message by this statement of truth, freedom and people-power.

The drone is truly mightier than the sword!

The Chinese government have been shamed -- by a tiny 3 inch drone.

Now perhaps, everyone can see one of the real reasons that governments around the world are working so hard to restrict the use of these craft and to place a huge regulatory burden on their owners. No government, democratic or otherwise, wants such power in the hands of "mere citizens". The power to shine sunlight on the unsavoury or possibly even illegal actions of those who are in command of a nation makes drones an even more powerful threat to that authority than any gun could ever be.

This is why, in the USA you will soon have to sit an online test to own a drone and then register that toy before you can use it -- but firearms will still be available "off the shelf" to anyone who wants to buy them. No test, no registration, no problem.

The video above is not only a warning to the Chinese government, it is a warning to the people of the world who should now be very much aware of the true agenda behind the vilification of drones and the extraordinary and unjustified regulation of same.

Remember, unlike manned aviation, unlike knives, unlike softball bats, unlike rugby, unlike cars -- the recreational use of multirotor drones has never killed anyone, ever, in the entire history of the planet. This, despite them having been "a thing" for over a decade now.

Food for thought, especially when you consider that NZ's government has been regularly found to have engaged in "unlawful" practice -- and that's just the offences we know about.

When they try to push through the compulsory registration of children's flying toys next year, do not let this happen because, as we know, it's not about safety -- it's about hiding secrets at the highest level and this must not be allowed to happen.

I am also writing a letter to the Minister of Transport, asking why it is that so much time, effort and energy is being expended on the regulation and restriction of recreational RC model and drone flying -- whilst the very clear and unmanaged fatal risks associated with aircraft colliding with each other in the skies over our heads seems to be ignored. I'll keep you informed as to what response (if any) I get on that one.

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