Sparks fly over fire­works sales

Western Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - DANIELLE CLENT AND SI­MON SMITH

The de­bate on fire­works is heat­ing up with three out of four peo­ple call­ing for a ban on pub­lic sales.

A sur­vey on Neigh­bourly.co.nz re­vealed 75 per cent of West Auck­lan­ders were against the sale of fire­works and peo­ple should go to pub­lic dis­plays in­stead.

The re­sults come as the SPCA and the Waita¯ kere Ranges Lo­cal Board con­sid­ered mak­ing an­other push for tougher fire­works laws un­der the new Gov­ern­ment.

Massey res­i­dent Jes­sica Beall said fire­works sales should be banned as no-one re­spected their neigh­bours and pets could be harmed.

‘‘The ter­ror our pets go through for months af­ter fire­works have gone on sale is hideous,’’ Beall said.

SPCA chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drea Mid­gen said it was ‘‘ab­so­lutely’’ against the pri­vate sale of fire­works.

The an­i­mal wel­fare or­gan­i­sa­tion had been call­ing for a ban for years and sent a pe­ti­tion to the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment to ban pri­vate sales.

The SPCA wanted to try again with the new Gov­ern­ment to see if its at­ti­tude would be dif­fer­ent, Mid­gen said. Fire­works could cause phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal harm to an­i­mals, she said.

The Waita¯kere Ranges Lo­cal Board wrote to He­lensville MP John Key in 2016 about the fire risk posed by fire­works in the ranges.

Board mem­ber San­dra Coney said Key ‘‘did not en­gage’’.

Coney said she hoped his suc­ces­sor Na­tional MP Chris Penk would be more re­cep­tive.

‘‘There’s real is­sues about how they are be­ing mar­keted and sold at the mo­ment,’’ she said.

Peo­ple bought fire­works and stored them for so­cial oc­ca­sions all through the dry months of sum­mer.

Coney said the board was open to dif­fer­ent so­lu­tions be­cause they knew peo­ple en­joyed fire­works.

Fire­works could be banned from just the Waita¯ kere Ranges Her­itage Area, or only per­mit­ted on Guy Fawkes night, she said.

‘‘I don’t know if the board would go as far as [to ad­vo­cate for] only pub­lic dis­plays.’’

Coney said a coun­cil by­law has banned the set­ting off of fire­works in pub­lic places.

What wasn’t so well-known was the by­law also banned peo­ple set­ting them off on pri­vate land – if they could en­ter a pub­lic place and do harm.

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