Wellington Lunar New Year fireworks display to go ahead despite fireworks ban

A fireworks display will be happening on Saturday despite a Wellington fire ban.
A fireworks display will be happening on Saturday despite a Wellington fire ban. Photo credit: Getty Images (file)

Wellington residents can expect a firework display to celebrate the Lunar New Year despite Fire and Emergency imposing a firework ban for the Wellington region.  

The celebrations take place this weekend with a fireworks display on Saturday and a community event at the TSB Arena and Shed 6 on Sunday.  

But it's the fireworks display that is head-scratching for residents, given the ban in place by Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).

FENZ said the ban, which came into effect last Friday, prevents the use of fireworks and sky lanterns in Wellington, Porirua, Hutt Valley, Kāpiti Coast and Wairarapa.  

Wellington District community risk manager Phil Soal said the fire danger risk in the Wellington District has escalated.  

"We have experienced a hot, windy, and dry summer which has dried out vegetation and this weather is forecast to continue for the coming weeks," Soal said.  

This was highlighted only a day ago when firefighters battled to extinguish a scrub fire within the school grounds at Porirua College. 

However, he said pyrotechnic displays are not part of the ban.

Organisers of the Lunar New Year event in the Capital confirmed to Newshub that its professional fireworks display has been signed off and is allowed.  

Newshub contacted Wellington City Council (WCC) with queries about whether it's a double standard to allow professional fireworks displays and how they could ensure it's safe when there have been at least two issues in the last few months caused by professional fireworks shows.  

"We're comfortable with the fireworks display, given the fireworks will be set off a barge in the harbour so the risk of fire is pretty minimal," a WCC spokesperson said.  

It comes just one week after Christchurch residents were left confused over a "double standard" after the council decided to put on a massive public fireworks display during a fire ban.  

The Canterbury region has reached scorching hot temperatures this summer with firefighters fighting several fires in recent weeks.  

One of the fires resulted in residents fleeing their homes in Kirwee but at the same time, the city was lit up by Christchurch City Council's annual public fireworks display during a fire ban. 

"It's a double standard really, why can they do it and we can't?" one Christchurch local told Newshub.  

"It sounds like a bit of an unusual thing to do given there seems to be quite a few fires at the moment. You'd never be allowed to do that in Australia," another said. 

A FENZ spokesperson told Newshub they are urging people to celebrate Lunar New Year "properly" and at "organised public events".