Nineteen extra tonnes of fireworks imported this year

File photo / Brett Phibbs
File photo / Brett Phibbs

Kiwis are being urged to use fireworks safely to prevent injuries on Guy Fawkes night.

Environment and ACC Minister Nick Smith is encouraging Kiwis to enjoy the event on November 5 but to use fireworks responsibly to avoid injury, damage to property and harm to animals.

"I particularly want to encourage people to attend professional public displays that carry the least risk. If people are using fireworks at home I urge them to follow instructions carefully, always have a bucket of water close at hand, make sure children are supervised and keep pets inside," he said.

ACC injury claims from fireworks have dropped 40 per cent from 461 to 275 since Government tightened the laws for fireworks four years ago in response to concerns from the police, fire service and the SPCA

"It limited the sales period to the four days before 5 November, the legal purchase age was raised to 18 and noise was limited to 90 decibels.

The changes were welcomed, but 275 injuries was still too many, said Mr Smith.

This year 1135 tonnes of fireworks have been imported to New Zealand - up slightly from the 1116 tonnes imported last year.

"The Government will be monitoring this year's Guy Fawkes and incidents, and noticeable increase in harm and irresponsible behaviour will result in regulations being further tightened, said Mr Smith."

- APNZ

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