Editorial: Time to ban fireworks?

Last updated 08:29 05/11/2012
CRACKER: After the fireworks were  cancelled on Saturday due to predicted bad weather, more than 3000 people filled the Morrinsville Recreation Grounds last night for the Price WaterHouse Cooper Fireworks Extravaganza.
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ
2013: North Hagley Park will be rocking this New Year's Eve.

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Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

But we have forgotten, haven't we?

There'd be few folk among us who could accurately explain the story behind Guy Fawkes, what he did, whether it was a good or bad thing to do, and just what a $49.99 box of fireworks has to do with it anyway.

So, is there really any point to Guy Fawkes Night?

In the past, fireworks season has been the bane of many a firefighter's life, a nightmare for pet owners, and the cause of exploding letterboxes.

Restrictions have been introduced; sparkler bomb makers have put paid to the opportunity for a modest spend on a box of sparklers for the children, the period of time fireworks can be sold has been shortened to just four days, and fireworks can be sold only to buyers aged 18 and over.

Is it time to take the next step, and ban public sales altogether?

Because even though the number of firework-related calls to the Fire Service has dropped in recent years, there are still calls. People still get injured.

People still spend huge sums of money on something that's gone in the twinkling of an eye, and, we could assume, some of those buyers are the people who can least afford it.

Animal welfare organisations beg people each year to look after their pets, to shut them inside, to be considerate of animals in the vicinity of their fireworks.

But the message still doesn't get through to some.

And while the sale period for fireworks is just four days, there's nothing to stop people buying and stockpiling for a later date.

Sometimes it seems that every night is fireworks night; birthdays, New Year, a few mates around for a few drinks, and some fireworks fun to finish off the evening.

What would we really lose if we banned public sales?

A small entry fee - or a good vantage point - to a public display provides far more bang for your buck than a backyard box, is safer, happens at a scheduled time and then is over for another year, and gives community organisations the chance to raise some money for a worthy cause.

Is there really too much wrong with that?

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- The Timaru Herald

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