ENVIRONMENT

Govt urges Kiwis to use fireworks safely

Tuesday 1 November 2011, 3:39PM
By Nick Smith
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Environment and ACC Minister Nick Smith is encouraging Kiwis to take extra care while enjoying fireworks this Guy Fawkes.

“I want people to enjoy Guy Fawkes and fireworks but to do so responsibly to avoid injury, damage to property and harm to animals. I particularly want to encourage people to attend professional public displays that carry the least risk,” Dr Smith said.

“If people are using fireworks at home I urge them to follow instructions carefully, always have a bucket of water close at hand, make sure children are supervised and keep pets inside.

“Four years ago the Government tightened the laws for fireworks in response to concerns from the Police, Fire Service and the SPCA. The sales period was limited to the four days before 5 November, the legal purchase age was raised to 18 and noise was limited to 90 decibels.

“These tighter rules have resulted in ACC injury claims from fireworks dropping 40% from 461 to 275. That is welcomed but 275 injuries are still too many.

“The volume of fireworks imported this year of 1135 tonnes is similar to the 1116 tonnes in 2010. This indicates that authorities can expect a similar level of fireworks being used this weekend as last year.

“The Government will be monitoring this year’s Guy Fawkes and incidents carefully. We want people to be able to enjoy the festivities but minimise the risks of fire, injury and danger to pets. Any noticeable increase in harm and irresponsible behaviour will result in regulations being further tightened.”