THE Wairarapa Times-Age recently used drone technology to do a flyover of the Masterton Red Star's burnt rugby field.

It wasn't anything remarkable, but, coupled with the drone images of Henley Lake last year, it's something we'll be trying more often.

It is interesting to compare this with the arrests of three journalists in Paris over using a drone.

We have to keep in mind that flying drones over Paris is illegal.


I would also guess that residents of major European cities are not fans of unfamiliar objects in their airspace. In fact, I would imagine they are downright touchy about it, considering the terrorist attacks last month.

In France, you need to a licence to operate a drone; in New Zealand, you don't.

A landscape like Wairarapa gives plenty of room for experimentation and freedom. Drones should technically not be a bother unless they fall on someone, but most of them have considerable redundancy when it comes to failure.

The one we hired had eight rotors.

Obtaining aerial views for reportage has been around for a long time, but there was always a sense of organisation about it.

It was a big deal, involving the filing of a flight plan and abiding by strict civil aviation rules. If you went to that much trouble, you could almost be forgiven for being intrusive on a crash scene or a police cordon.

Drones, in contrast, offer enormous pay-off for very little expenditure.

There are no rules, other than arguments over what is termed a "reasonable expectation of privacy". That term came to the fore when arguing the rights and wrongs of filming the couple having sex in an office in Christchurch.


My view has always been that you can't have a disaster in a public place and not expect to be reported and photographed - from any angle.

But at what point does public interest (and public titillation) outweigh privacy when it comes to drones? At this point, I don't think the public tolerance is high for drones at breaking news scenes, as it might be seen to be in poor taste - but that's going to happen any day now.

And it could become the norm.