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V for Vanquishing Fireworks Sales

19 October 2006


V for Vanquishing Fireworks Sales

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) supports the NZ Fire Service and NZ Police call for a ban on firework sales to the general public. The Council has had policy on this issue since 1990, which calls for the ban on sales of all fireworks to the general public, and that they be sold only to licensed operators.

"The historical reason for Guy Fawkes celebration has, over time, been twisted," said Christine Low, NCWNZ National President. "Many today identify the letting off of fireworks as a celebration of Guy Fawkes life and would-be actions, rather than the celebration of the demise of the gunpowder plot."

This loss of historical understanding has in part been fuelled by the release of films such as "V for Vendetta", which romanticises the blowing up of a futuristic parliament as a glorified action for affecting positive change of the government. This film is now widely available from rental outlets, where the policing of its censorship rating is at the discretion of the householder.

Members of the Council have identified a range of grounds for the banning of general public fireworks sales, they include; safety issues, the wide availability of public displays in a safe and controlled environment and the current wastage of public money spent on fireworks call-outs.

The Catholic Women's League, a society affiliated to the Council, has recently reaffirmed and updated policy calling for the banning of general public sales, with sales limited to those already licensed to manage such displays. These steps were taken on the basis of accident prevention.

There are a range of groups and agencies which would be supportive of the Government's action on this issue.
"Animal Protection groups, particularly those committed to the prevention of cruelty against animals are fed up with the days of pets experiencing terror, when fireworks are set off, or worse still, attached to animals," said Christine Low. "Emergencies services have already voiced their continued displeasure with current fireworks sales. Community groups working on revegetation projects or who are guardians of existing urban forest stands, would prefer to not see their hard labour go up in smoke as a result of rogue fireworks. Private sector interests, such as insurances companies would also be delighted at the prospect of fewer householders claiming on fire damage to properties. Parents with babies and very young children would rejoice at avoiding the further sleep deprivation that accompanies resettling children made restless and fearful by the constant loud bang of exploding fireworks.

Some NCWNZ members are of the opinion that celebrating Matariki (Maori New Year) would be a desirable alternative to Guy Fawkes.

"Perhaps public displays for both events would satisfy the public demand for fireworks events," concluded Christine Low.


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