Is it time to ban the public sale of fireworks?

An increasing number of people are moving away from purchasing fireworks for their own backyard Guy Fawkes celebrations, amid growing concern for animal welfare, as well as the risk of injury or the potential to start a fire. Add to that the broken hours of sleep suffered by babies, kids and adults!

Turning public opinion

Every year this discussion comes up. But this year the tide seems to be turning with some supermarkets and dairies refusing to sell fireworks and Auckland Council considering a ban. A poll by revealed that around three quarters of responders would be in favour of a ban on the public sale of fireworks.

Most of Australia did away with the sale of public fireworks over 20 years ago. In the UK, whilst fireworks can be purchased year round, there are restrictions on when they can be used (ie not between the hours of 11pm and 7am, with a few exceptions like New Year’s Eve, Bonfire Night, etc).

In NZ in 2015 a petition signed by 25,000 people was brought before Parliamentary committee but the Government Administration Committee said “a complete ban on the private use of fireworks went too far and was unenforceable.”

What are the firework laws in New Zealand?

In New Zealand fireworks are only available for purchase between 2nd and 5th November. You must be 18 or over to buy them. However, there are no restrictions on when the fireworks can be used (unless this contravenes noise control regulations). There are local restrictions on where fireworks can be used with many councils banning their use in public parks and recreation spaces.

For tips on fireworks safety, visit

Do you like to set off fireworks at home? Do you support a ban? Join the discussion below.

This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.

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  1. Shelz69 02/12/2018 at 8:09 am

    I love having fireworks at home however it has nearly turned into disaster twice and it doesn’t matter how careful you are just one little mistake can have devastating results. I also do not like how people abuse fireworks and are inconsiderate to others. I think we should ban them and move to more public displays.

  2. kymmage 30/11/2018 at 6:41 pm

    We buy a Sparkler pack and a low noise box most years. We try to take them to a local park if possible where other families go so we can get more bang for our buck. We often have no public display happening. If there was one or two locally then I’d support them. I get that the public sale is not great for many reasons. Animals, children and environmental too. But I would like there to be more available alternatives

  3. Alezandra 28/11/2018 at 8:47 pm

    I came from a country where there’s no ban and when New Year’s comes along, every person with the means to buy fireworks and can just use them anytime. I’m sure the government has done it’s best to limit the use of fireworks by the shorter period of selling them. They can only regulate them and advice people to use responsibly. I guess it’s on the same vein of people selling cigarettes – I for one think these should be banned.

  4. MuddledUpMolly 26/11/2018 at 3:11 pm

    I really see no benefit in continuing to allow the sale of private fireworks. I’m sure the government would save more in the long run if they looked into all the incidents of public nuisance, arson and injury compared to the absence of most of these issues if it was completely privatised. It saddens me that an MP of influence hasn’t taken this up as a serious matter.

  5. dawnblyth 23/11/2018 at 10:21 am

    We do not do fireworks at home for the simple fact they are too expensive for what you get these days. The purchasable fireworks are not that great anymore and I would rather spend the traveling to a public display where I get better enjoyment out of them. The other side of the coin is the damage that private fireworks cause and the distress they cause to animals and humans.

  6. Jen_Wiig 22/11/2018 at 8:31 pm

    I really love the idea of going public only as a consumer it can only mean good…allows for more places to jump on board and setup some awesome family evenings which creates abit if healthy competition for us at the mo speaks and spooks is it and it’s almost 50 dollars for pur family to go not inc good and drinks for the night so quite pricey but there’s no competition so they can price it high.
    Not to mention our poor animals I read about a couple if horses going too calm and dying this year it broke my heart as there’s not alot you an do other than put them in a barn unlike dogs and cats being able to be inside a house.
    Going public would also take alot of pressure off lower income families trying to buy their kids fireworks and yay no more weeks on end of people letting them off.
    We do currently buy them and let them off ourselves but again that’s because there isnt any public displays except prior mentioned so cheaper for us to buy our own but I deff support a ban none the less

  7. Shorrty4life1 20/11/2018 at 9:28 pm

    I myself prefer to go to the fireworks displays I find the fireworks a lot more of a better show. I feel a little unsafe doing them at home. Iove sparklers though they can keep selling those publicly but maybe just ban the rest for public sale as it gets too dangerous

  8. SarahBlair 07/11/2018 at 4:45 pm

    I think public fireworks displays rather than private, at home one are much safer and better to watch. Too many animals and children have been hurt and the cost to repair the damage to property is too high to continue the way that we are, something has to change.

  9. Mands1980 06/11/2018 at 8:20 pm

    I obsolutely agree that they need to be banned every year it seems to be getting worse with fires and silly behaviour with them. Then there are the poor animals that stress out every year. Surely they need to listen to all the people if there’s a majority against like this article says then they should just go with that.

  10. Bevik1971 06/11/2018 at 12:44 pm

    I really think that we need to ban the public sale of fireworks – we used to have a public display of fireworks years ago but they stopped doing it (not sure why, cost maybe?). We don’t buy them as I really think they are a waste of money and can be dangerous. We live in the centre of town with our 6 year old and there are quite a few students around, they have been very idiotic and letting off fireworks at all times of the year, but aiming them at other buildings including ours 🙁 I would go to see a public display though 🙂

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