Fireworks sales are booming, but so are concerns

Pop-up fireworks stores say sales are booming this year, despite ongoing safety concerns.

Nicolette Foot - who runs the Kumeu Boom Brothers store - says a lot of parents are bringing their teenage kids in to buy fireworks, and they're going for the bigger packs.

"They're more looking for the big displays like the cakes and all that," she told Newshub.

"You get the typical young kids with the sparklers… A lot of people are actually going for the really big displays that have a lot in them."

Henz Viljoen, who runs a fireworks stall for a west Auckland community group, agrees.

"Most of the kids come in with their parents and buy sparklers and the smaller stuff, but it's the over-30s who buy a lot of the bigger, more expensive stuff."

Mr Viljoen says all their profits are put back into the community.

Ms Foot says her Boom Brothers shop has sold out a number of times, and she constantly has to restock.

Major incidents so far

Six people, including children, were burned when fireworks display in Christchurch went wrong on Friday night.

A four-year-old suffered second and third degree burns and may need skin grafts, while a 12-year-old was hurt after she used her own body to shield a baby.

A 20-year-old man was taken to Southland Hospital after being hit in the eye by a skyrocket on Saturday night, and in Pukekohe, a man fell into a bonfire.

Stocking up?

But are people just stocking up so they can let off fireworks all year round? Sales to the public are only allowed for a few days each year in the lead-up to November 5.

"One of the problems we have is people stockpile – they'll buy fireworks this period, but save them up for Christmas or New Year, or a wedding, or other things they're celebrating," says Helen Beattie of the NZ Veterinary Association.

"Those are the things that we really can't protect our animals from."

Advert for a 24-hour fireworks shop in New Lynn, Auckland.
Advert for a 24-hour fireworks shop in New Lynn, Auckland. Photo credit: Newshub.

The Veterinary Association wants private sales to be banned, and fireworks displays restricted to the professionals.

She says pet owners can prepare for public displays, but not backyard fireworks, and the pyschological trauma lasts all year round.

"We would hypothesise that it's around the idea of the noise and the lights that come from it, possibly some of the resonance the animals experience – the movement of the air, the booming."

Ms Beattie says she hopes public attitudes are shifting.


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