COMMENT:

I am what Simon Bridges calls the "fun police".

I hate Guy Fawkes night.

I know, for many it's a harmless backyard party with kids holding sparklers and parents trying to safely ignite things that fizz up into the sky. Magical, many say. A pain in the bum, I say.

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Because it's not always harmless - that's the problem.

ACC received 516 claims for fireworks-related injuries in 2016. Many would argue one child injured by fireworks is one too many, because we are talking serious harm here - burns and other horrible injuries.

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And that's before we get to the animals. Frightened shaken animals, some scarpering out of fear, and some others being unintentionally injured too. Just ask the SPCA, it's an awful night for them.

Each year we have the petitions against fireworks sales, the pleas to local government to stop it, ban it and put an end to it. And each year the industry leaps to its own defence.

In fact this year retailers have started their own petition to keep fireworks, in order to counter all the petitions against them.

There are some restrictions around sales but basically come darkness tonight, it'll be the wild west as usual. And not just tonight: people stockpile fireworks and you'll hear them going off all week.

I'm personally not affronted by fireworks per se, but I am affronted by idiots who use them like weapons - firing them out of letterboxes, car windows, random places where people or animals could get harmed.

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I'm in favour of managed public displays. Places people can go where it's done properly, where it's contained and there are safety procedures in place.

If that makes me the fun police, then so be it.

Because we can wish that people might be more sensible, more community-minded, more cautious with their fireworks, but not everyone is.

Often it's just a feral free-for-all. Which is why I think it needs regulating - as boring and grinchy as that sounds, I honestly do.

For the scared animals, for the little kids trying to sleep, for those who're anxious or afraid, for sick or elderly people who may feel uneasy, the families who just need some peace and quiet and not being kept awake with bangs all night.

We've managed to ban a lot of stuff in this country, as one vet nurse rightly pointed out, we've banned plastic bags, we've banned some guns, why can't we ban private sales of fireworks too?