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Government Inaction Over Fireworks Totally Unacceptable

The Governance and Administration select committee has decided not to recommend any changes to the current law governing the private sale and use of fireworks, a move that two Auckland councillors say is “totally unacceptable”.

Auckland Councillors Cathy Casey and Fa’anana Efeso Collins, who spoke to the select committee in November last year asking for a ban on the private sale and use of fireworks on behalf of Auckland Council say they are disappointed and frustrated.

Councillor Casey says “This decision to do nothing is deeply disappointing. Banning public sale and use of fireworks has the widespread backing of the New Zealand public through three separate petitions, all the local councils in New Zealand and a wide range of animal welfare agencies including SAFE and SPCA.”

“While the committee recognises the harm done to people and animals through fireworks misuse and accidents, it is not prepared to lift a finger to reduce that harm. Choosing not to act, puts humans and animals at risk of injury or death and that is too high a price to pay for a few cheap thrills. The strain put on emergency services for weeks on end is simply unacceptable.

“Last year during the lengthy fireworks season there were substantial fires on Maungarei /Mt Wellington and Maungawhau /Mt Eden started by fireworks. The only way to protect our precious taonga is by banning the sale of fireworks to the public,” Councillor Casey says.

Councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins says he is disappointed that the Select Committee only heard the booming voice of the fireworks industry

“It is clear to me that the current firework legislation is not fit for purpose. Why are we looking to our past rather than our future? We celebrate a man for trying to blow up the British Parliament in 1605? Really?

Fireworks displays should be public and celebrate what New Zealand finds important. Councils have a role in holding public firework displays so that our community can still enjoy the spectacle while keeping every person and animal safe.

“Sadly, due to Government inaction we will have “All Out War”, “Devastation” and “Heavy Artillery” let loose in our community again. These are the names of some of the fireworks, marketed for their disruptive intent that New Zealanders and their pets will have to endure once more this Guy Fawkes season,” Councillor Collins says.

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