23 Jun 2019

Auckland Council pushes for private fireworks ban

2:37 pm on 23 June 2019

Auckland Council is hoping to garner support from other councils in an effort to ban the sale of private fireworks.

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Photo: 123rf.com

In February, the council voted to support a ban on the private use of fireworks. The matter is now to go before Local Government New Zealand's annual general meeting in two weeks' time.

However, in order to ban sales to the public, the government will have to change the law.

Auckland councillor Cathy Casey, who has led the charge, will attend the meeting and hopes LGNZ will help lobby for change.

"There was overwhelming support for it from the public of Auckland. Over 90 percent of submissions said they would support a ban on the private sale and use of fireworks," Ms Casey said.

"I think people are just tired of the stress, the injury, the damage to property, the careless use of fireworks. There's a mood for change."

She said other councils like Porirua City Council and Waimakariri District Council had already publicly signalled their interest in a ban.

"The time is right, the pressure on emergency services is huge and it's not just one night of the year, it's for many weeks before and after that night of the year.

"I really, really hope it goes through. The next step of the process would be that Local Government New Zealand tells the government 'we support you moving an amendment to your legislation to ban the private use and sale of fireworks'."

Cathy Casey at a Council meeting about the Unitary Plan. 10 August 2016.

Councillor Cathy Casey. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Late last year an almost 18,000-signature petition was presented to parliament, calling for the retail sale of fireworks to be prohibited.

It was received by Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, who has called for the government to listen to the public.

Ms Casey and fellow councillor Fa'anana Efeso Collins wrote seeking a meeting to discuss the issue with Environment Minister David Parker.

He responded yesterday to say he would consider an invitation after learning of LGNZ's response.

"Changing the existing fireworks regulation is not on the government's agenda at present," he said.

"Any such change would apply across the country, so would need to be carefully considered."

Mr Parker said an amendment limiting the misuse of fireworks 10 years ago had "noticeably decreased" fireworks-related injuries and property damage.

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