Northlanders appear largely in support of a call to ban the private sale of fireworks even though local authorities are yet to declare their positions.

Last week, Auckland Council voted to call for the Government to ban the sale of fireworks to the general public and end their private use.

It received 7997 submissions and 89 per cent were in favour of it.

A post on the Northern Advocate facebook page, asking what Northlanders thought, received comments predominantly in favour of banning private sales and supporting public displays. Traumatised animals, noise, and fireworks being lit during a fire ban were among the reasons.

Advertisement

However not everyone supported a ban.

Brenda Rawlings, who grazes horses in Tikipunga and also has cats, was not in favour of a ban.

"One reason is that simply if we ban fireworks made by professionals then people are going to start trying to make their own and I feel the injuries caused will be much more horrific."

She said fireworks go off year round but her animals have never suffered an injury.

Northland's councils were unable to confirm whether they would support the call.

Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai said she hadn't discussed it formally with her councillors.

"Informally, some Councillors have said they would support the ban. If Auckland asks for support we would bring an agenda item to Council for a decision."

A Kaipara District Council spokesman said it would be looking to utilise its Kaipara People's Panel tool in the coming months to get some base information on citizens' views on fireworks.

Advertisement

Far North District Council environmental services manager Darren Edwards said FNDC did not have a position on Auckland Council's proposal.

New Zealand Veterinary Association chief veterinary officer Helen Beattie said every year veterinary clinics across the country treat injured and traumatised animals as a result of fireworks.

"Injuries from fireworks can be quite horrific and are entirely preventable, by making their private use illegal."

She said these injuries often result from traumatised animals endangering themselves after escaping in a state of panic.

Fire and Emergency's national advisor fire risk management Peter Gallagher said it supports any initiative to reduce harm and risk in our communities.

"Fireworks do put a strain on our resources at certain times of the year, which we would be better off without.

"We get around 100 firework-related callouts each year, and that presents more risk that we'd rather see people not face."

He said Fire and Emergency has consistently recommended that the public attend commercial displays rather than doing their own backyard events as these are safer.

Serious fireworks incidents this year in Northland include one in the Bay of Islands on January 23 where fireworks lit by boaties on a launch moored at Waiwhapuku Bay, at the northeastern tip of Moturua Island, sparked a fire which wiped out vegetation on a small islet separated by at most 15m from the main island.

The skipper of the boat has been identified with fire authorities saying they will take action once the current spate of blazes is over.

A few days earlier an incendiary device made with fireworks and detonated on a beach on Purerua Peninsula, also in the Bay of Islands, started a fire at Rangihoua Heritage Park.

In that case a 25-year-old Kerikeri man has been charged with arson. He is due back in Kaikohe District Court on March 26 for a case review hearing.

The SPCA also does not support the private sale and use of fireworks and has long called for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public.

The organisation also encouraged people to attend local public fireworks displays rather than using fireworks at home.