Ban the Private Use of Fireworks in NZ

Every Guy Fawkes without fail, on land animals are terrorised, people are injured, thousands of dollars of property and belongings are damaged beyond salvaging, livelihoods are lost and hillsides are burnt down to the ground.

Furthermore fireworks do not simply terrify animals; the use of fireworks kills them. Every year, without fail, intentionally or unwittingly. For each whiz, pop and bang, felines cower and hide while canines cringe and whimper. In both instances, the beloved family pet will then very likely run outside onto the roads to escape the thundering sounds above. Their terror blinds them, therefore they don’t notice the oncoming vehicle that kills them. This is only one annual example as there are documented cases of animals having to be put down every year as a consequence of the idiotic actions of immature clowns when fireworks are accessible. For example, the Manawatu branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigated a case of a moggie being killed by a group of children who set fireworks off in its ears and a German shepherd dog was killed in south Auckland after a group of young children put fireworks in its ears and ignited them. In Hamilton a pet moggie was killed by fireworks that had been put in its mouth and ignited and in Whakatane, a blind woman was walking along a street with her guide dog when kids threw firecrackers at the dog, causing it to panic and run off. The owner was dragged along the footpath resulting in a broken arm and shock. Unable to work for some time, she was also unable to prepare food as a result of the injuries. Sickening.

Another Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals letter refers to a policeman who was called out to where horses had been frightened by fireworks deliberately lit and aimed at the horses in the paddock behind the house. Adults were present at the home, inside the house drinking, when the youths started skylarking around with sky-rockets. One of the youths said words to the effect. ‘Watch me make those horses run.’ Aiming the sky-rocket across the horses paddock, the horses panicked and all three of them ran into a barbed-wire fence. One horse received severe lacerations over the upper area of its front legs and chest to receive veterinary treatment and survived. The second horse also received severe chest lacerations, but the injuries were so bad that the horse had to be put down. The third horse not only received severe chest lacerations, but also broke its leg when it became entangled in the wire fence. As a consequence, the officer needed to destroy the horse. The main offender, aged 14 or 15, also received serious burns to his hands from the sky-rocket. Too bad.

Due to the lack of supervision, sadist’s are free to roam to mercilessly injure innocent animals and people. And for what? Purely for their own selfish, perverse entertainment while hospital casualties are increased and fire departments extinguish fires unnecessarily started by fireworks. A Wanganui man and his two-year-old son were treated for smoke inhalation after their house was the victim of a late-night firework-bombing, while a Feilding teacher had to act quickly to stop his house going up in similar fashion are only two of thousands of examples. Life-threatening fireworks abuse examples that could have been avoided, as could the country’s landscape been burnt away each due to fireworks misuse.

3 Nov 2012, Taranaki Daily News: ‘Last year, a blip on November 5 saw 111 emergency calls about fires nationwide skyrocket by almost 60 per cent compared to 2010. The Fire Service called for an outright retail ban of fireworks in 2006, saying private sales led to “pockets of mayhem in the suburbs”. The responding 2007 legislation put conditions on sparklers and restricted sales to a period of just four days and to those aged 18 and over. Fireworks imported into New Zealand went up by 20 per cent totaling 1370 tonnes this year. Last year’s imports totaled 1135 tonnes.’

18 Oct 2006, NZ Police Press Release: ‘The New Zealand Police support our call and all of the organisations that make up the National Rural Fire Advisory Committee – local governments, the Department of Conservation, Federated Farmers, the Defence Force and private forest owners as well as the National Rural Fire Authority – have put their weight behind a ban.’ Inspector Marc Paynter from the Police National Headquarters says the Police’s backing of a ban is for the same reasons they stated last year. ‘It is always a minority of people who behave irresponsibly, but they are taking increasing amounts of time to handle, and causing increasing amounts of damage before they are brought to our attention. Public displays are well organised, safe and spectacular. We would prefer to put our resources into policing them, rather than dealing with pockets of mayhem in the suburbs.’

Fire Depts want fireworks banned, Police want fireworks banned, local authorities want fireworks banned, SPCA consistently calls for fireworks to be banned and there are numerous online petitions to ban the private use of fireworks by those who have a conscience. 3,717 to date on one petition alone, petitioning for the sale of fireworks ban sourced from the first page only of a internet browser search.The fact is, more New Zealander’s want the use of private fireworks banned; thousands more than the self-centered simpletons who have no regard for animal and human life, peoples dwellings, belongings and livelihoods and the environment they share.

Fireworks are explosives yet the manufacture of explosives is becoming worse and sparklers are approx half a metre long, four millimeters thick but burn at approx 1000C. 1000C is past tepid and a lot of skin damage is done in three minutes. Young people who have either lost their hearing, or received serious ear or eye damage during Guy Fawkes are reported every year and the risks associated with the private use of fireworks far outweigh their benefits. As soon as fireworks go on sale, fires reported around the country go sky-high and fireworks are used before and after Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes is a dangerous tradition that puts everyone and everything in the fireworks path at risk because unlike the Beatle’s ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds‘, the glitter in our sky has consequences; deathly consequences for where there is fireworks above, there is death and destruction below. Imbeciles can’t be educated, regardless of the money spent trying to educate them and as long as fireworks are readily available, like alcohol, dimwits will continue to abuse fireworks. However while alcohol can’t be banned to readily, fireworks can with simple legislation. The same legislation Beverley Pentland, New Zealand’s own Wellingtonian worked tirelessly for, spending her own money, before she died.

By all means continue with Guy Fawkes public displays of fireworks – public displays set-up but professional pyrotechnics and monitored by responsible adults. However for the safety of your family, each other and our environment, to stop the sadist’s terrorising and manslaughter of four-legged family members and the injury of unsuspecting innocent victims, to save our homes and buildings while retaining livelihoods and the beautiful landscape we live in, ban the private use of fireworks in NZ today.

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Discussion

  • Kathy Abernethy Fireworks are explosives and many people use them irresponsibly. They drift on to neighbouring properties endangering them. They frighten animals, and cause injury. It's bizarre that these dangerous goods are available. Keep fireworks for organised displays by licences operators

  • john mckenzie Im sick of the inconsiderate neighbours letting off loud fireworks night after night til late. I was born in NZ but was lucky to have lived in a civilized place like California where private fireworks are banned

  • Megan Owen My cat is terribly sick. She is bleeding profusing from a urinary tract irritation caused by stress from fireworks set off within 5 to 10 metres of our house every night for the last week or two. Last year our guinea pig died on Guy Fawkes night. It isn't just domestic animals that are harmed- so are wild animals and birds. It is fine to have controlled public displays every now and then to celebrate events, but Guy Fawkes has got out of hand. People no longer confine themselves to setting off the fireworks on the night, but set them off for days before and days afterwards. As I write this my neighbours are still setting them off, despite me pleading with them that my cat is very sick.

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