The 11-year-old boy who suffered permanent eye damage when he shone a powerful laser pointer in a mirror and was hit by the reflection has cause to feel aggrieved.
As far back as mid-2008, the previous Government was considering banning these devices.
There was no doubt that the way people were aiming them at aircraft, potentially blinding their pilots, provided reason enough to deem them a prohibited weapon.
Yet nothing happened, with Labour's Transport Safety Minister, Harry Duynhoven, referring to such attacks as mainly the work of one or two people of low-level intelligence.
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The minister was obviously right about the intellect of those who use the pointers in this manner, given the possibility of a catastrophe. But his inability to see how easily the practice could be mimicked resulted in a regrettable lack of urgency.
This approach has continued with the present administration, and New Zealand, unlike most comparable jurisdictions, still has no restrictions on the importing and sale of high-powered laser pointers.
The unsurprising upshot of this ready availability has been an escalation in their use. At least 17 examples of pointers being shone at planes in the air have been recorded this year. The potential for serious damage in another arena has been confirmed by today's Weekend Herald report on the unfortunate 11-year-old.
Quite simply, there is no reason high-powered laser pointers should be freely available.
Government agencies are working on regulating their use. Controls should be put in place now to forestall even nastier incidents.