Auckland councillors push for NZ-wide fireworks ban

Auckland councillors are backing a ban on the private sale and use of fireworks - not just in Auckland, but nationwide.

Efeso Collins and Cathy Casey are urging Auckland Council to lobby the Government to change the law and end backyard fireworks.

"I grew up in the days where we had skyrockets and crackers. I shouldn't admit that I enjoyed them... but I did," Mr Collins told The AM Show on Thursday.

But he now thinks it's time to pour water on the traditional backyard Guy Fawkes display.

"One of the things that our offices are called out to all the time are complaints about fireworks going off at all sorts of times of the evening, and where I'm from, going off in the day where they can't be seen."

More than 500 people are injured by fireworks every year according to ACC figures, not to mention animals. Last year someone let off fireworks in a duck's mouth. It was found in the carpark at Middlemore Hospital, and had to be euthanised.

"Ultimately this is about public welfare and safety, and it's about people who have got animals and pets. The SPCA came out and publicly stated fireworks are traumatic for animals."

Most Australian states banned private sale and use of fireworks decades ago, and Mr Collins says it's time for New Zealand to catch up and restrict their use to public displays, handled by professionals.

"If you've got public displays, we're going to see a major decrease in the number of people who get hurt."

But not even public displays are totally safe. Six people were hurt when a church Guy Fawkes show went horribly wrong in Christchurch last year, including a four-year-old boy.

In an unscientific poll on The AM Show, 71 percent expressed support for a total ban on private fireworks.

Mr Collins says councillors are currently reviewing Auckland's Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw 2013, including a possible clampdown on fireworks across the super city.

Presently, fireworks can only be sold between November 2 and November 5. But - as Mr Collins and plenty of other Kiwis know - some people stockpile skyrockets, letting them off for months afterwards.