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Future of fireworks up to the public

17 October 2006

Future of fireworks up to the public

The severity of any new rules toughening up on the sale of fireworks, including a possible ban, will depend on the outcome of this year’s Guy Fawkes, Environment Minister David Benson-Pope said today.

“If there's no improvement in safety this year, the government will consider bringing in new regulations covering the sale of fireworks to the public in 2007,” David Benson-Pope said.

“The extent of irresponsible behaviour and damage seen this year will certainly influence our considerations.

“Throughout the year, the government has been examining possible regulations, following the damage from the misuse of fireworks and the extra stress placed on the Police and Fire Service last year.

“I advocate raising the current legal age for buying fireworks. Fireworks are more powerful today than when the age limit of fourteen was set and I will be raising this issue with my colleagues.

“I'm also looking at the logistics of shortening the period of sale. Much of the misuse of fireworks takes place prior to Guy Fawkes night itself.

“I understand the Fire Service and Police and RSPCA are fed up with fireworks related emergencies involving fire, property damage and cruelty to animals. I share that concern.

“For 2006, I have requested that a co-ordinated safety campaign be run across New Zealand to promote the safe use of fireworks,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

“Fireworks are not to be used to scare people or animals or to damage property they are a privilege to have for visual displays only. Police won’t be tolerating ‘hoon’ behaviour.

“Guy Fawkes is traditionally a family day. Thousands of families are responsible with fireworks, and want to keep enjoying this in their neighbourhoods. I plan to consult widely with the public about any future changes to the sale of fireworks,” Mr Benson-Pope said.

ENDS

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