A former construction company director has been summoned to court to face an accusation that he pointed a laser at the police Eagle helicopter.
The 43-year-old Glendowie resident could face up to 14 years' prison if convicted of interfering with a transport facility with reckless disregard for the safety of police staff.
His first appearance at Auckland District Court is set for early next month.
A police spokesperson told the Herald the Eagle helicopter was flying over Auckland suburb Glen Innes in the early hours of Saturday October 9 when the laser pointer was directed at the helicopter's crew.
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"With the assistance of the Eagle crew the male was located by police in Glen Innes at the time of the alleged incident," the spokesperson said. "As the matter is currently before the court the police are unable to make further comment."
The defendant was initially set to make his first appearance in court today but the matter was rescheduled.
Pilots have repeatedly complained in recent years of their lives being put at risk by people on the ground with high-powered laser pointers.
Just over 800 incidents involving lasers were reported to the Civil Aviation Authority between 2016 and 2019 - almost double the number of incidents in the four years prior to that.
Deliberately shining a laser at an aircraft can temporarily blind the flight crew and can potentially lead to disorientation or loss of aircraft control, the Ministry of Transport has said in the past.
New Zealand Air Line Pilots Association spokesman Captain Tim Robinson told the Herald in April that he wants to see high-powered lasers banned outright in New Zealand.
"We would hate to see a fatal accident, especially from a medium to large-size commercial airliner, because these lasers continue to illuminate aircraft," he said. "If these lasers continue to be in circulation and get in the hands of malicious users, then there's always the possibility it can bring down an aircraft."