A stoush is brewing over backyard fireworks, with anti-fireworks groups headed to Parliament next week to lobby for a ban on private sales.

A select committee is hearing submissions on the issue after three separate petitions to ban fireworks sales garnered thousands of signatures.

But fireworks importers will also be speaking to the select committee, and they think the silent majority of the public is on their side.

The Government says it currently has no plans to change the law around fireworks.


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The Guy Fawkes mayhem started in earnest on the weekend, with reports of people shooting fireworks out of cars and aiming them at buildings and vegetation.

Fire and Emergency's national adviser on fire risk management Peter Gallagher said firefighters attended 41 fireworks-related incidents across the country over the weekend, up from 38 incidents at the same time last year.

"We are disappointed that in a small number of incidents reported, people shot fireworks from cars or aimed them towards vegetation and buildings," he said.

Fire and Emergency NZ warned that with Guy Fawkes falling mid-week it expected three periods of heavy use: November 2, November 5 and November 8-9.

High winds and high temperatures have added to the fire risk, with a complete fire and fireworks ban for the past three days in Central Otago and Southland.

The ban will be lifted tomorrow morning but people still need to take care, Fire and Emergency NZ says.

Auckland Council says no public events are planned for Guy Fawkes night, although public displays are planned at The Trusts Arena in Henderson and at the Waikaraka Park speedway on Saturday night.


"Fireworks can still be let off on private property, but they are banned in public places [such as parks and beaches] across the whole of Auckland," the council said.

Wellington City Council moved its annual fireworks display from Guy Fawkes night to Matariki last year, and Christchurch City Council held its public display at New Brighton on November 1.

That leaves most people expected to hold their own backyard fireworks parties, with risks heightened by warm, dry weather over most of the country.

Animal lovers in particular will be bracing for tomorrow night's festivities, with Auckland Zoo asking people in surrounding suburbs not to let fireworks off randomly to avoid terrifying the animals.

Many pet owners say their companion animals get spooked by fireworks, while Auckland Zoo says its animals get terrified by the random bangs in surrounding suburbs. Photo / File
Many pet owners say their companion animals get spooked by fireworks, while Auckland Zoo says its animals get terrified by the random bangs in surrounding suburbs. Photo / File

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Animal welfare will be high on the agenda when lobby groups speak to a Parliamentary select committee on November 13.

Three separate petitions call for a ban on sales to members of the public, with one also calling for a move away from Guy Fawkes to focus on fireworks at Matariki, which presents a lower fire risk in mid-winter.

Auckland Council and Local Government NZ will present to the select committee next Wednesday in support of a ban.

The SPCA and the NZ Veterinary Association have also submitted in favour of a ban, saying fireworks have a "serious negative impact on the welfare of many animals" with spooked animals getting injured and even killed every year.

Fire and Emergency NZ also submitted in support of the ban, with concerns about injuries to the public, loss of property and vegetation through fire, and the impact on animals.

Tougher rules had reduced the impact of fireworks, "however the primary concerns we hold around injuries and property loss still remain".

Auckland Council voted this year to ask the Government to ban private fireworks sales, after 89 per cent of 8000 responses to a public consultation favoured a ban.

But fireworks importers say the survey didn't represent the whole city, and was dominated by anti-fireworks groups.

There are calls for fireworks to be limited to public displays like this one in Auckland at New Years. Photo / File
There are calls for fireworks to be limited to public displays like this one in Auckland at New Years. Photo / File

Auckland Council's figures show 73 per cent of submitters were women, and 90 per cent identified as European. Just 3 per cent of submitters were Asian and 2 per cent Pacific Islanders.

James York, manager of Bad Boys Fireworks, said sales sites around the country were gathering signatures from pro-fireworks customers.

With more than 100 sites around New Zealand he believed they would get more signatures than the opposition.

But the petition could only be submitted to Parliament until the Government actually considers a fireworks ban.

York said there were "no doubt" incidents where animals were injured due to fireworks but said that could be remedied by people being courteous and warning their neighbours of their plans ahead of time.

He also supported coming down harshly on late-night revellers.

"Anyone out at 2am lighting fireworks from our point of view is a complete and utter idiot."

Foodstuffs stopped selling fireworks in its Pak'nSave and New World supermarkets last year and Countdown stopped selling them this year, citing waning demand.

The Warehouse and Crackerjack still sell fireworks along with pop-up stores that have opened over the weekend.

A spokesman for Environment minister David Parker said changing regulations around fireworks was not on the Government's agenda.