7 Jun 2014

High-power lasers still being sold in NZ

7:40 pm on 7 June 2014

The Government says it's concerned about the number of high-powered lasers being sold despite restrictions introduced three months ago.

Laser sales were restricted to those under 1mW in power from 1 March after 116 laser strikes on aircraft were recorded in 2013.

AAP reports the number of laser strikes have plateaued rather than decreased - there have been 37 such strikes reported to the Civil Aviation Authority to mid-May this year.

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said many lasers were still being sold that have either incorrect or no information about their strength.

Ms Goodhew said health officers had visited more than 80 retailers across the country to remind them of the ban and to remove high-powered lasers from shop shelves.

She said the Ministry of Health had tested 22 suspected high-powered lasers, eight of which had no labels, and found 17 were over the legal strength.

"Customs have also seized 10 high powered lasers from seven different attempts to bring them into the country," she said.

The Government can allow lasers above 1mW upon application to the Ministry of Health.

Of the nine applications to date, five have been approved and one is still being considered.