Time private use of fireworks was finally banned

By Scott Inglis


As a child I loved Guy Fawkes. Every year, I looked forward to November 5 - and the days and weeks surrounding it - when I could go down to the dairy in our local shopping block in Silverdale, Hamilton and buy firecrackers and other fireworks.

I liked the night-time displays with skyrockets and bright colours of red, green and yellow on the lawn or back fence.

The family would gather outside once it neared darkness and it was like a little ceremony took place.

I particularly loved firecrackers. I clearly remember buying packets and packets of double happies with some coins I had earned by doing the lawns and dishes.

You might remember those double happies - pinky-red cylinders of powder that once lit gave a few seconds' warning and then one heck of a bang. Even more fun was lighting the whole pack and throwing them on the roof or putting them in the letterbox. It was like a machine gun going off.

I can't say I knew or cared much about why we celebrated the event and only have vague memories of black and white newspaper reports of people getting injured by them.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

But I can remember being read the safety riot act by my parents and can vividly remember my father warning me not to stand over the bottle after lighting the skyrocket.

That was back in the 1970s and'80s. As kids we survived. But times were different then. And times have changed - and so has my opinion.

There has been much greater awareness of fireworks safety in recent years and, in today's edition, senior writer Ellen Irvine examines the growing trend against the private sale of fireworks.

There have been a number of restrictions introduced surrounding their sale.

These days, people have to be 18 to buy them and they can only be sold for four days from November 2 to 5.

And gone are those double happies and skyrockets.

The SPCA and fire service are often speaking out about the dangers fireworks pose - and for good reason.

There have been plenty of cases over the years and decades of people injuring themselves with fireworks or starting a fire.

This year, Guy Fawkes is next Saturday, prompting even more concern about the risk of people mixing fireworks and alcohol.

A bonfire at a party would have to be a huge risk, I would have thought.

I agree there is a much greater likelihood of people putting away a few too many and then deciding to get the fireworks out, given it is a Saturday and it is just a recipe for disaster.

As for the animals, I feel sorry for them. There will be countless pets and other domestic animals frightened by the noise and sight of fireworks. I can only hope owners keep them inside and neighbours are considerate.

But neighbours are another factor when it comes to Guy Fawkes.

I've lost count over the years of how many have been inconsiderate - letting the things off at midnight when you're asleep and yahoo-ing over the fence.

The rules in place now are good but I believe it's time to take the next step.

Some people will call me a spoilsport, but I simply hate Guy Fawkes now and haven't celebrated it in years. I think the risks are too great and too many people are inconsiderate of the humans and animals around them.

This day, which celebrates some idiot who was part of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 in Britain, just seems pointless. The law should be changed. Fireworks for private use should be banned and only licensed public displays held. These displays allow families and children to enjoy fireworks in a safe environment.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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