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Fireworks petition gains support

Chris Eichbaum. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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A Masterton man’s petition to end the retail sale of fireworks has been signed by nearly 8500 people in just six days.

Chris Eichbaum set up the online petition through the Parliament website after years of growing concern about fireworks.

“Each year I am forced to share vicariously the terror my dog goes through as a result of fireworks,” he said.

The dog in question is an Airedale terrier called Millie, who tries to find a dark, quiet place whenever she hears fireworks.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association has long supported calls to end the public sale of fireworks, and Eichbaum, an associate professor in the School of Government at Victoria University, says it is time the matter was looked at properly by a select committee.

“I’m not a killjoy,” he said. “I do appreciate that people, particularly families with children, derive pleasure from fireworks.

“But people are injured, some seriously, there is loss of property, and domestic animals are injured or traumatised.”

Eichbaum accepts some people will argue that the “nanny state” should leave fireworks alone, “but the costs of unsafe and inappropriate use of fireworks far outweigh the benefits”.

While fireworks can only be sold from November 2-5 each year, that doesn’t stop them being used over far longer periods.

“People do stockpile fireworks then use them at New Years or at parties – it’s not just one night.”

And the nature of fireworks also appeared to have changed over time.

“It used to be that the point of fireworks was to make a beautiful, colourful display – now it seems like the main goal is to make them as loud as possible.”

When Eichbaum first checked numbers supporting the petition at the weekend, he reckoned there were “a dozen or so”.

But by Tuesday afternoon, the number had swelled to 8418

“I’m frankly amazed,” he said.

“With that sort of support I think there’s a good chance of it getting to a select committee and hopefully having the sort of conversation we want.

“The petition is one way of helping ensure that there is a review with an opportunity for people to be heard, and I very much hope a change in the law.”

Masterton firefighter Mike Cornford said Guy Fawkes night in Wairarapa was usually quiet for the fire service, and this Monday was no exception.

“We weren’t called to any firework-related incidents.”

Eichbaum’s petition is open until November 30, and can be found on the NZ Parliament website: www.parliament.nz, search ‘Eichbaum petition’.


  1. It is about time New Zealand had a law which allows fireworks in public places ONLY, and by certified display technicians – approved by Councils/Governments on Guy Fawkes (if they must!) and New Year. I am totally over the animal stress, injuries to all life forms and lights/noise which I do NOT need. Get real NZ – have some decent rules to suit life.

  2. Too many irresponsible people are getting their hands in them. It is time to put a stop to the retail sales. It is possible to keep some animals in on bonfire night but they also get stored up for other times during the year when no one knows they will be let off. Dangerous in the wrong hands.

  3. I have been fed up for years with firework night which generally goes on till New Year, they are still banging away in our street as I write and started on the 3rd Nov. I have always had pets who also hate them. If we must celebrate Guyfawks just have a public function and those that wish to celebrate some-ones death can pay to enter it. There will be less time and expense for the fire dept. and the hospital as well, there are too many idiots out there to let the general public get their hands on them any more.

  4. An irresponsible few ruin it for others by using fireworks at any time on any date. Animals suffer and fires often occur. Professional displays are organised, spectacular and safer for the general public.

  5. There are far too many disastrous fires, hurt and frightened pets, horses and birds killed – not to mention what sounds like cannons going off night after night after night. I am so fed up with not being able to get any sleep because fireworks lovers are so inconsiderate for not just one night but for weeks on end sometimes.

  6. Is it the fireworks – or what they represents that bothers you more?
    Kinda ironic taking a petition to Parliament when the objective was to blow it up.

  7. I agree. They should only be done by professionals at parks & guy Fawkes events. These events should also be free to watch. Too many fools are being more dangerous than ever with fireworks. I love them but have had enough of the damage they do specially in the wrong hands.

  8. Fully support the ban on fireworks. We live rural, I cant just bring my alpacas/horses/sheep inside like some people state.

  9. Totally agree banning of public sale on fireworks as annoying to have to keep getting remedies to keep pets calm but also make them silent for proper displays , we don’t get kids knocking every night on Halloween so why should fireworks keep going before 5th n throughout leading to new yr, it’s not fair to animals children etc…. was walking back from shop n a rocket just missed me fro out of sky they not safe n seem to go of at anytime of day it’s gotta be STOPPED hope u listen to all that want them BANNED ..

  10. fireworks should be banded because there are to many people not been responsible with them and to many animals been hurt and scared

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