Countdown won't sell fireworks this Guy Fawkes

Countdown supermarkets won't be selling fireworks this Guy Fawkes after discovering few of its customers would even buy them.

It said on Friday two-thirds indicated they rarely or never buy fireworks for private use. Most respondents, 71 percent, said they were moving away for fireworks due to animal welfare concerns.

Others cited fire safety, environmental reasons, neighbour disturbance and personal safety.

"We've decided to leave it to the professionals and we think the vast majority of our customers and our team will agree with this," Scott Davidson, Countdown's general manager of merchandising, said.

The SPCA supports the move, saying it will be better for pets who are often frightened by the loud noises.

"Fireworks can be terrifying to animals, whether that's on Guy Fawkes night or at any other time of the year," said CEO Andrea Midgen. "Every year animals are injured, frightened, go missing or occasionally suffer abuse related to fireworks.

"While we urge pet owners to plan ahead and keep their pets inside, safe and happy on Guy Fawkes night, we know that's harder said than done when fireworks are let off at all times over the Guy Fawkes sales period and beyond."

The sale of fireworks to the public is regulated by the Hazardous Substances (Fireworks) Regulations 2001 which were amended in 2007 to help prevent fireworks being misused in New Zealand. 

The 2007 amendment to the regulations was a result of a 2004 investigation into the sale of fireworks to the public due to the increasing numbers of people, animals and property being harmed. 

The period of time retailers can sell fireworks to the public was reduced to the four days prior to and including 5 November. The legal age of purchase was also raised to 18 years. Fireworks sold by retailers also had to be quieter.