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Ban the Private Use of Fireworks

This petition had 20,896 supporters

Glitter in the Sky With Consequences

As pretty as the glittering sky is above each Guy Fawkes, on land animals are terrorised, people are injured, thousands of dollars of property and belongings are damaged beyond salvaging, livelihoods are lost and hillsides are burnt down to the ground.

Even worse, fireworks do not simply terrify animals; the use of fireworks kills them. Every year, without fail, intentionally or unwittingly. For each whiz, pop and bang, felines cower and hide while canines cringe and whimper. In both instances, the beloved family pet will then very likely run outside onto the roads to escape the thundering sounds above. Their terror blinds them, therefore they don’t notice the oncoming vehicle that kills them. This is only one annual example as there are documented cases of animals having to be put down every year as a consequence of the idiotic actions of immature clowns when fireworks are accessible. For example, the Manawatu branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigated a case of a moggie being killed by a group of children who set fireworks off in its ears and a German shepherd dog was killed in south Auckland after a group of young children put fireworks in its ears and ignited them. In Hamilton a pet moggie was killed by fireworks that had been put in its mouth and ignited and in Whakatane, a blind woman was walking along a street with her guide dog when kids threw firecrackers at the dog, causing it to panic and run off. The owner was dragged along the footpath resulting in a broken arm and shock. Unable to work for some time, she was also unable to prepare food as a result of the injuries. Sickening.

Another letter from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals refers to a policeman who, in the line of duty, attended problems relating to fireworks. One particular case, the officer was called out to where horses had been frightened by fireworks deliberately lit and aimed at the horses in the paddock behind the house. Adults were present at the home, inside the house drinking, when the youths started skylarking around with sky-rockets. One of the youths said words to the effect. ‘Watch me make those horses run.’ Aiming the sky-rocket across the horses paddock, the horses panicked and all three of them ran into a barbed-wire fence. One horse received severe lacerations over the upper area of its front legs and chest to receive veterinary treatment and survived. The second horse also received severe lacerations to the chest area, but the injuries were so bad that the horse had to be put down. The third horse not only received severe lacerations to the chest, but also broke its leg when it became entangled in the wire from the fence so that horse needed to be destroyed. The policeman himself put the horse with severe chest lacerations and broken leg out of it’s misery. The youths were around 14 to 15 and the main offender who directed the rocket also received serious burns to his hands from the sky-rocket. Too bad.

Sparklers are approx half a metre long and 4 millimetres thick and burn at approx 1000C. Other products, supposed to be stuck in the ground that burn for approx 3 minutes, teenagers will often hold in their hands if no adults are around. 1000C is past tepid and a lot of skin damage can be done in 3 minutes. Because of this stupidity and lack of supervision, hospital causalities are increased. Meanwhile totally unsupervised sadist’s are free to roam to damage property and mercilessly injure innocent animals and people. And for what? Purely for their own selfish, perverse entertainment. Hospital casualties are further increased and fire departments are called to yet another fireworks result or arson scene. A Wanganui man and his two-year-old son were treated for smoke inhalation after their house was the victim of a late-night firework-bombing, while a Feilding teacher had to act quickly to stop his house going up in similar fashion are only two of thousands of examples. Again, examples that could be avoided but occur every year because of fireworks and every year, some part of the hilly environment of Wellington gets burnt out, usually in rather more than one significant area, because of fireworks. As soon as fireworks go on sale, the number of fires reported around the country go sky-high.

3 Nov 2012, Taranaki Daily News: ‘Last year, a blip on November 5 saw 111 emergency calls about fires nationwide skyrocket by almost 60 per cent compared to 2010. The Fire Service called for an outright retail ban of fireworks in 2006, saying private sales led to “pockets of mayhem in the suburbs”. The responding 2007 legislation put conditions on sparklers and restricted sales to a period of just four days and to those aged 18 and over. Fireworks imported into New Zealand went up by 20 per cent totaling 1370 tonnes this year. Last year’s imports totaled 1135 tonnes.’

18 Oct 2006, NZ Police Press Release: ‘The New Zealand Police support our call and all of the organisations that make up the National Rural Fire Advisory Committee – local governments, the Department of Conservation, Federated Farmers, the Defence Force and private forest owners as well as the National Rural Fire Authority – have put their weight behind a ban.’ Inspector Marc Paynter from the Police National Headquarters says the Police’s backing of a ban is for the same reasons they stated last year. ‘It is always a minority of people who behave irresponsibly, but they are taking increasing amounts of time to handle, and causing increasing amounts of damage before they are brought to our attention. Public displays are well organised, safe and spectacular. We would prefer to put our resources into policing them, rather than dealing with pockets of mayhem in the suburbs.’

The Fire Dept want fireworks banned, the Police want fireworks banned, local authorities want fireworks banned, SPCA consistently calls for fireworks to be banned and there are numerous online petitions to ban the private use of fireworks by those who have a conscience. 3,717 signatures to date on one petition alone, sourced from the first page only of my internet browser search. The fact is, more New Zealander’s want the use of private fireworks banned; thousands more than the self-centered simpletons who have no regard for animal and human life, peoples dwellings, belongings and livelihoods and the environment they share.

Fireworks are explosives and the manufacture of explosives is becoming worse, the risks associated with the private use of fireworks outweigh their benefits, Guy Fawkes is a dangerous tradition that puts everyone and everything in the fireworks path at risk and young people who have either lost their hearing, or received serious ear or eye damage during overzealous Guy Fawkes evenings, are reported every year. Unlike the Beatle’s ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’, the glitter is our sky has consequences; deathly consequences for where there is fireworks above, there is death and destruction below. Fireworks are also used a long time before and after Guy Fawkes night, imbeciles can’t be educated, regardless of the money wasted trying to educate them and as long as fireworks are readily available, like alcohol, dimwits will continue to abuse fireworks. However while alcohol can’t be banned to readily, fireworks can with simple legislation. The same legislation Beverley Pentland, New Zealand’s own Wellingtonian worked tirelessly for, spending her own money, before she died.

By all means continue with Guy Fawkes public displays of fireworks – public displays set-up but professional pyrotechnics and monitored by responsible adults. However, for the safety of each other and our environment, to stop the sadist’s terrorising and manslaughter of four-legged family members and the injury of unsuspecting innocent victims, to save our homes and buildings while retaining livelihoods and the beautiful landscape we live in, help ban the private use of fireworks today. Not tomorrow.

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