Transport Minister Simon Bridges is keen to push ahead with "light handed risk-based" rules around drones after meeting politicians, United States regulators and companies including Google.

New Zealand is close to introducing new rules for drones and their use was discussed at a closed door meeting at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, eastern Germany.
Use of drones is surging and Airways NZ gets about 70 applications a week to fly them, with about 50 in controlled air space.

Bridges said new rules recognised that not everyone had the answers.
"Flexible, outcome-based regulation will provide the opportunity for operators to find their most efficient way to meet the minimum safety standards."

European ministers, including those from Russia and Canada, the United States' assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs and Google's public policy head discussed driverless vehicles and drones.


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Bridges said they shared experiences of the technology.
"In time as we and other countries gain more experience we can develop more comprehensive regulations in collaboration with the users of these technologies," he said.

"The key thing we need to get right now is the balance between regulating for safety while still promoting innovation." Airways chief operating officer, Pauline Lamb, said earlier this month that most commercial drone operators wanted new regulations to update existing rules that were largely designed for model aircraft.

"It's beginning to self-regulate, the thing that makes us nervous is the 16 year old who is gets them off a website."

There have been isolated problems with pilots reporting drones where they shouldn't be. Airways is working with the Civil Aviation Authority on the review of the rules.
Lamb said her organisation favoured an open approach.

"We segregate drones from commercial aircraft, we'd like to integrate them in the future."

Drones are used for aerial filming, inspecting farms and infrastructure and search and rescue. In the United States parcel delivery has been trialled.

Lamb said Airways saw some commercial opportunities overseas.
"Not so much charging operators but being able to sell a set of rules to a regulator."

• Grant Bradley is in Leipzig courtesy of the ITF