Leah Panapa: Time to blow out the fuse on fireworks

Opinion 12/07/2019

By Leah Panapa, Magic Nights host.

It's a debate we have every year and this year its come earlier than normal – banning fireworks.

Over the weekend, Auckland Councils call for a law change to ban the sale and private use of fireworks received 64 percent support of the vote at the Local Government New Zealand conference.

The councils remit has now become official policy of LGNZ and strengthening the case to central government for legislative change.

We of course already have some regulations in place, retailers can only sell fireworks four days up to and including Guy Fawkes on November 5 and buyers must be over 18, plus sparklers have to be sold separately.

And you know what? If everyone just bought their bangers and sparklers and let them off on Guy Fawkes night, I could live with it, but we all know it doesn’t work like that.

Guy Fawkes for many in this country continues long after the 5th of November.

Plus many become oblivious that there are people sleeping at 1 in the morning yet still decide its time for more bangs, pops and fizzle!

I’ve been called the ‘fun police’ and that doesn’t bother me.

I don’t think it is ‘fun’ to scare animals and wake sleeping neighbours at all hours of the night. I believe it can still be a fun night if public displays were held and it was a family event.

Some believe it is a kiwi tradition that we should not be tampering with. It of course did not originate in New Zealand.

So what makes a tradition, the time with which society acknowledges an event?

We could start another tradition that this country no longer wants to put up with ‘year-round’ fireworks that cause unnecessary distress and injury to people, animals, birds and livestock.

A tradtition that no longer puts huge pressure on emergency services but instead celebrates with well managed events that brings people together to celebrate.

I hope that the time is now right and there is a mood for change.

A change to better protect our communities and animals but of course it is up to the Government to put a ban in place.

I fear I will be getting my earplugs ready.

Leah Panapa is host of Magic Talk Nights