Guy Fawkes: Auckland Council readies the fire extinguisher

Auckland Council is expected to formalise its opposition to private fireworks sales on Thursday.

The issue will be voted on at its Governing Body meeting today, and if passed it will request the Government enact legislation outlawing amateur Guy Fawkes displays.

Almost 90 percent of submissions on the proposal were in favour.

"In supporting a Government ban on the sale and use of fireworks, Aucklanders have made it clear they want a city that is safe for their families and pets," said Councillor Cathy Casey, whose motion with fellow Councillor Fa'anana Efeso Collins a year 
ago triggered the consultation.

"Year-round, fireworks cause unnecessary distress and injury to people, animals, birds and livestock and misuse of fireworks puts huge pressure on emergency services through unnecessary fires, property damage and injuries.

"A ban will significantly reduce the number of bylaw complaints about the setting off of fireworks on private property received by Council, significantly reducing the demand for council resources."

Animal rights groups hope the council votes in favour of a ban. SAFE head of campaigns Marianne Macdonald says fireworks are a nightmare for animals and their owners.

"Every year animals are terrified, they're caused huge anxiety. They can also be injured and end up having to have vet treatment."

Fireworks can only presently be sold between November 2 and 5. But the problems don't end with Guy Fawkes, says Ms Macdonald.

"[Pet owners] can rest assured there aren't going to be people buying their fireworks just before Guy Fawkes then keeping them for birthday celebrations… any time during the year."

Fire services say they had around 100 fireworks-related call outs last year.

"We are so pleased that Auckland Council is making this decision," said Ms Macdonald. "We hope it will spread right throughout New Zealand."

Sellers against a ban

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

And nearly 18,000 people signed a petition presented to Parliament seeking to ban the retail sale of fireworks in New Zealand.

But Bad Boy Fireworks says that sales figures show just how fireworks are popular with Kiwis.

"We have facts and figures that show how many fireworks are sold in NZ every year, and around 1/3 of households purchase a box of fireworks!" it posted to Facebook.

"Maybe it is time to put a petition in all fireworks stores around the county and show the government just how many people actually do love fireworks, and enjoy and evening in their backyard with their family."