'Toothpick crossbow' craze gets thumbs down in NZ

It's a sad day for Kiwi children who enjoy finding innovative ways to hurt each other - the latest creative weapon has been banned.

Toothpick crossbows have been growing in popularity overseas, designed as a miniature toy which fires out toothpicks at high speeds.

Parents fear that not only is the toothpick dangerous if it hits someone in the eye, but if the toothpick was replaced with a needle, injuries could be even worse.

The toy is available online and sells from around $2 to $20, but Kiwis hoping to get their hands on one will need to hold fire.

In a statement on Monday, the Commerce Commission issued a reminder that the mini crossbows are banned in New Zealand as an 'unsafe good'.

"It is an offence under the Fair Trading Act to supply, offer to supply, advertise to supply or import pistol crossbows without safety catches," it said.

The Commerce Commission said Trade Me has pulled down all auctions selling the mini crossbows in New Zealand and anyone else selling them should immediately remove them from sale.

"Anyone who has purchased one of these crossbows from a New Zealand trader should return it to the trader for a refund."

China also banned the devices as popularity grew, with some toy shops being raided by authorities, according to the official Xinhua news agency.


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