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Auckland Council asks Government to ban private fireworks sales

Published: 29 October 2020

Update | 29 October 2020

New demand to end the private sale and use of fireworks

With the fireworks season about to start and the Cabinet about to be announced, there is a new demand on the government to end the private sale and use of fireworks in New Zealand.

Auckland Councillors Cathy Casey and Fa’anana Efeso Collins have joined with a range of national organisations and advocates to prepare a briefing for the incoming Minister for the Environment. 

The attached briefing has been endorsed by:

  • SPCA
  • SAFE
  • New Zealand Veterinary Association
  • Local Government New Zealand
  • Auckland Council
  • Tūpuna Maunga Authority
  • Auckland Zoo
  • Dr Chris Eichbaum
  • Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons – Wellington City Council, Paekawakawa/Southern Ward

A meeting with the Minister will be sought by a delegation as soon as the appointment has been announced.

“We just can’t continue to ignore the harm that fireworks cause to people, animals and the environment.

"The new Government must take urgent action to ban their private sale and use. Until they do, every bang from a firework could be the trigger that causes a  child to be injured, a horse to bolt, a dog to be terrorized, a nesting bird to abandon its eggs or the start of a fire in one of our precious maunga.

"New Zealand has had enough," says Cr Casey.

“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," says Cr Fa’anana Efeso Collins.

Read the briefing to incoming Ministers on fireworks

Update | 19 August 2020

Auckland Council is disappointed no law changes will be made to ban the private sale and use of fireworks, following a decision by the Government’s Governance and Administration select committee.

“It's deeply disheartening and frustrating the select committee has made no recommendations for changes," says Councillor Cathy Casey, who along with Councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins spoke at the committee hearing in Wellington last November.

"Banning the public sale and use of fireworks has the overwhelming support of Aucklanders and 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," says Councillor Casey.

“Our advocacy to central government has been clear that nothing short of a nationwide ban on the private sale and use of fireworks is required to better protect our communities, animals and native wildlife."

Original story published on 12 November 2019:

Auckland Council is taking another step forward in its advocacy to central government for law changes to ban the private sale and use of fireworks.

Tomorrow morning, Councillors Cathy Casey and Fa’anana Efeso Collins will be speaking to the Governance and Administration select committee in Wellington. They will discuss Auckland Council’s submission to the government to introduce legislation banning the sale of fireworks to the general public and ending their private use.

They will appear alongside members of the public also campaigning for a ban on fireworks sales.

Councillor Cathy Casey says a ban on the private sale and use of fireworks has the overwhelming support of Aucklanders and now it’s the government’s responsibility to take appropriate action.

“Last week the number of incidents during Guy Fawkes included around 55 fires across the upper North Island. This also included major fires on Maungarei/Mt Wellington and in the crater of Maungawhau/Mt Eden, as well as a vegetation fire at Muriwai Beach that threatened a nearby gannet colony and a report of nesting dotterels being disturbed on Waiheke Island.

“Aucklanders and communities around the country have had enough of the unnecessary distress and injury inflicted on people and animals, as well as the fires and damage to property, caused by the private misuse of fireworks. This all puts huge pressure on our country’s emergency services and on the resources of councils. And it's not just one night of the year - it happens year-round.

“There is a clear mood for change. More and more people who were previously on the fence have seen the harm caused this year and support the need for a ban across New Zealand.

"Nothing short of a nationwide ban on the private sale and use of fireworks is required to better protect our communities, animals and native wildlife," says Councillor Casey.  

In February 2019, Auckland Council voted in support of a law change to ban fireworks from private sale and use, which was supported by 90 per cent of public submissions. At this year’s Local Government NZ conference a majority of New Zealand’s local authorities (64 per cent) also supported Auckland Council’s call for legislative change.

Councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins says public fireworks displays are much better and safer and the council has a role to play in encouraging public fireworks displays.

“Public events bring our communities together and Auckland Council has a role in providing more events where the spectacle of fireworks can be enjoyed by everyone while families and pets are kept safe.”

Sessions of the Governance and Administration Committee are live streamed on its Facebook page.

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