Petition to ban fireworks “modernising our rules”

Green Party animal welfare spokesperson Gareth Hughes has accepted a the petition, Hughes said that the private sale of fireworks was dangerous.

Retweeted by Green co-leader @MaramaDavidson

I haven’t bought fireworks for a long time, possibly not in this century, so I have no personal interest in whether I can buy fireworks or not.

I’m aware of issues with personal harm risks and fire risks and adverse effects on pets and animals.

But I have concerns. ‘Modernising our rules’ is a euphemism for BAN – rules to restrict personal choice.

This is not the only fireworks petition on the go.

Petition of Chris Eichbaum – Cease retail sales of fireworks

Published date: 1 Nov 2018

Petition request

That the House of Representatives pass legislation to prohibit the retail sale of fireworks, and institute licensing arrangements for individuals or organisations to responsibly detonate fireworks in public displays approved by the relevant territorial local authority.

Petition reason

At present fireworks can be lawfully sold to any person over the age of 18 years. Accidents involving fireworks result in injuries to many, and to young people disproportionately. Domestic animals are often traumatised by fireworks and their retail sale is opposed by the NZ Veterinary Association that has repeatedly called for a ban. Legislation should facilitate public fireworks displays that are managed by licensed providers and approved by the relevant territorial local authority.

Also:

Petition of Melanie Lindstrom – Ban the private sale of fireworks and promote Matariki for public displays

Published date: 13 Nov 2018

Petition request

That the House of Representatives pass legislation banning the private sale of fireworks and urge the Government to promote Matariki, rather than Guy Fawkes, as a culturally significant occasion for public firework displays.

Petition reason

The private sale of fireworks at Guy Fawkes is a commercial enterprise that I believe harms New Zealand. We see distressed pets and wildlife, burn injuries, and multiple fire service callouts. We need to shake off our colonial overcoats and be more culturally responsive to our tangata whenua. Celebrating a failed gunpowder plot from England in 1605 makes no sense in 2018.

‘Guy Fawkes’ is not a ‘commercial enterprise’, it is an opportunity for free trade of goods for sale for entertainment purposes. There is very little celebration of the 1605 gunpowder plot in England.

Celebrating 2000 year old disputed history at Christmas makes no more sense, but some old traditions survive. An attempt to ban Christmas probably wouldn’t go down well (ditto Easter and even the recently adopted tradition Halloween).

But a good practical case can be made for moving fireworks use to Matariki, in the middle of winter when it is dark by 6 pm.  It is a long wait up for kids on 5 November with it not getting properly dark (in southern New Zealand at least) until 10 pm.

If fireworks are banned because they can cause harm what else could be petitioned? A ban on bikes, scooters and skateboards? Kids often get harmed when using them. Ban TV and computers and mobile phones? They have harmful effects.

November fireworks fizzing out?

Should Guy Fawkes and November fireworks be allowed to fizzle out?

There are growing numbers of complaints about fire risks and frightening pets, but late daylight makes this time of year impractical for kids. There’s a tendency to get impatient and start at dusk, too early for the best visual effects.

I don’t really care about it. I’ve heard a bit but haven’t seen a single thing this year – and have a five year old in the household. We largely ignored it all.

This is a huge contrast to my childhood, when we experimented with crackers, stuffed a Guy, built bonfires and stayed up late (with no daylight saving?)

NZ Herald editorial: Guy Fawkes Night – cracker or fizzer?

Fireworks, done well, are a treat for all the family. Fireworks done badly, as it will be done tonight, is a disappointment at best, a danger always, terrifying for pets and an annoyance to neighbours. Why do we continue with Guy Fawkes?

For the children, most people would say. Little children get a thrill when Dad lights their sparklers and lets off some rockets in the backyard. Remembering our own innocent pleasure we wonder whether we have the right as jaded adults to deny the experience to the next generation of little ones.

But the truth is, the kids will get far more enjoyment from a real fireworks display, lying on the ground with parents and a crowd around, watching explosions of colour overhead. The sequences are far longer and the variety so much better than anything that can comes in a bag from a store at this time of year.

So why do we persist with the backyard variety? Perhaps because the occasion hardly warrants a public effort.

Guy Fawkes marks a minor act of attempted terrorism long ago and far away. Nobody knows much about it and nobody cares. It’s an artefact of English heritage that would be no loss. It comes soon after Halloween which New Zealand children now mark in American style and have much more fun than a few firecrackers can give them.

How much better, for them and everyone who enjoys fireworks, if it marked an event with meaning in New Zealand. Matariki possibly, which occurs in winter when darkness comes early.

I think that November 5 will persist, albeit on a reducing scale.

It is already common now to have major fireworks displays at New Year.

It would be good to brighten up our winters with a bit of a show – why not Matariki?

 

Pet friendly fireworks

It’s the 5th of November today, over 400 hundred years since the gunpowder plot that it sort of commemorates. It has toned down a bit in recent decades, we tend not to burn people on bonfires any more.

Guy Fawkes (aka Guido Fawkes and Guido Johnson) was actually tortured – “the gentler Tortures are to be first used unto him et sic per gradus ad ima tenditur [and so by degrees proceeding to the worst]” – and he revealed the identities of his fellow plotters.

They were to be “put to death halfway between heaven and earth as unworthy of both”. Their genitals would be cut off and burnt before their eyes, and their bowels and hearts removed. They would then be decapitated, and the dismembered parts of their bodies displayed so that they might become “prey for the fowls of the air”.

On 31 January 1606, Fawkes and three others – Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood, and Robert Keyes – were dragged (i.e. drawn) from the Tower on wattled hurdles to the Old Palace Yard at Westminster, opposite the building they had attempted to destroy. His fellow plotters were then hanged and quartered.

Fawkes was the last to stand on the scaffold. He asked for forgiveness of the King and state, while keeping up his “crosses and idle ceremonies” (Catholic practices). Weakened by torture and aided by the hangman, Fawkes began to climb the ladder to the noose, but either through jumping to his death or climbing too high so the rope was incorrectly set, he managed to avoid the agony of the latter part of his execution by breaking his neck. His lifeless body was nevertheless quartered and, as was the custom,  his body parts were then distributed to “the four corners of the kingdom”, to be displayed as a warning to other would-be traitors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes

They were gruesome times, but they weren’t burnt..

On 5 November 1605 Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the King’s escape from assassination by lighting bonfires, “always provided that ‘this testemonye of joy be carefull done without any danger or disorder'”.

An Act of Parliament designated each 5 November as a day of thanksgiving for “the joyful day of deliverance”, and remained in force until 1859.

Bonfires were accompanied by fireworks from the 1650s onwards, and it became the custom to burn an effigy (usually the pope) after 1673, when the heir presumptive, James, Duke of York, made his conversion to Catholicism public. Effigies of other notable figures who have become targets for the public’s ire, such as Paul Kruger and Margaret Thatcher, have also found their way onto the bonfires, although most modern effigies are of Fawkes.The “guy” is normally created by children, from old clothes, newspapers, and a mask.

Things like that were still practiced in New Zealand fifty years ago. I’m not sure when we switched to just toned down fireworks.

Isn’t it a bit odd that we ‘celebrate’ with fireworks but none actually went off on 5th November  1605?

Back to the present, pets and wildlife scaring has already started over the last few nights. If you want to enjoy some fireworks and spare your pets put headphones on and watch something that really went up in London.

Fireworks or not

Journalists sometimes show they have a sense of humour (albeit sometimes wry)..

Dominion Post @DomPost

The annual fireworks spectacle will return to Wellington harbour on Saturday November 7.
The Wellington Sky Show has been lighting up the capital's harbour since 1995.
Vernon Small Retweeted Dominion Post
And I’ll be at the Labour Party conference, where fireworks are not expected.

Fireworks versus nanny state

Is the gradual clampdown on the sale and use of fireworks a reasonable and acceptable response to irresponsible behaviour and inherent dangers?

Or is it an unacceptable creep of nanny state?

When I was a child a bonfire and rockets were the highlight of Guy Fawkes night but crackers were a lot of fun in the lead up days. We made Guy’s and burnt them without any idea of the grim history of punishment it depicted, it was just fun.

Crackers were banned by the time I had my own children. Sales have been restricted more and more.

We seem to be moving towards public fireworks displays only, conducted by professionals. The are much more dramatic but strictly hands off.

This doesn’t affect me personally with kids grown up now and no interest in DIY any more.

The down sides of fireworks are significant – injury, starting fires accidentally and scaring pets and livestock are not insignificant.

But are we and our kids being cotton-wooled too much?

Is it protecting us from ourselves, or from a few excessive fools?