Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

40% want fireworks ban, poll finds

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

Almost 40 per cent of Kiwis want to see the sale of fireworks banned, but a small section of the community wish the selling period around Guy Fawkes was longer.

The Fire Service are applauding the attitude towards fireworks, and say too many people continue to use them dangerously.

A Herald-Digi-Poll survey found 39.2 per cent of people want to ban the sale of fireworks, while 59.5 per cent are happy with the rules.

Just 0.8 per cent of people surveyed thought the sale period for fireworks should be increased to more than four days a year.

In 2007, the Government tightened fireworks regulations in a bid to improve public safety.

The purchase age was raised from 14 to 18 and fireworks sales were restricted to the four days up to and including November 5. Previously sales were permitted for 10 days. The change led to a dramatic reduction in fireworks-related 111 calls.

There are no plans to further restrict fireworks sales, despite the percentage of the population who would support it.

Fire Service Fire Risk Management national adviser Todd O'Donoghue said the poll result was "encouraging".

"Despite the warnings, still too many people are using them inappropriately, including in enclosed areas or next to dry vegetation, which causes fires and injuries every year," he said.

"We support public displays over the public sale of fireworks. Even though rockets are now banned, ground-based fireworks are able to go to much greater heights than they used to. Public displays have special measures in place to manage the risk of fires, so they're much safer. We recommend people go to public displays instead of buying their own fireworks.

"It's encouraging that nearly 40 per cent of people think that public firework sales should be banned."

It is likely many Kiwis saved fireworks purchased in November for the Christmas and New Year period. The Fire Service urged anyone considering lighting their own over the festive season to take care.

Assistant National Commander Rob Saunders said it was crucial to use a torch to read and follow the instructions on fireworks before using them, never attempt to re-light a firework that hasn't gone off, and always keep a bucket of water or a hose handy.

He also advised people to buy and use the small stands that hold fireworks safely, ready to be lit.

"There are also some parts of New Zealand where open fires are restricted, so please check with your local council first before lighting any bonfires."

- NZ Herald

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