Firework displays not illegal

19:01, Dec 19 2012

Police are still investigating fireworks that were let off in Spring Creek about 1am on Sunday. As reported in the Marlborough Express yesterday, a three-month-old foal found dead in a paddock later was believed to have been frightened by the loud noise.

Letting off fireworks after Guy Fawkes is not illegal, according to Marlborough chief rural fire officer Richard McNamara, but a permit to light them may be required if a total fire ban is issued in the region.

A total fire ban could be issued depending on the amount of rain in the next month. The Marlborough region is currently in a restricted fire season. "If there is not enough rain, we could go into a total fire ban," said Mr McNamara.

If a fire started because of a rogue firework, the person who set it off could be charged with lighting a fire without a permit and could be liable for the cost of putting the fire out.

The rural fire authority could make it illegal to to let off fireworks without a permit.

While large pyrotechnic displays already need a permit, policing fire permits for private use would be almost impossible in a practical sense, he said. However, it would be considered if the region was in a total fire ban.

A national police headquarters spokeswoman said it was illegal to sell fireworks outside the official sale period of November 2 to 5, but they could be let off at any time of the year. Complaints in relation to fireworks would be assessed on a case by case basis, she said.

"Obviously, if there was intent to cause harm or damage as a result of letting off fireworks, that would be assessed as part of any investigation."

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The Marlborough Express