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Auckland Zoo wants government to move on fireworks sales ban

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland Zoo wants the government to move quickly and implement a ban on the public sale of fireworks for private use. It is also pleading with people in neighbouring streets and suburbs to put the safety of animals first and not let off fireworks on Guy Fawkes’ Night, or at any time.

Auckland Zoo wants the government to move quickly and implement a ban on the public sale of fireworks for private use. It is also pleading with people in neighbouring streets and suburbs to put the safety of animals first and not let off fireworks on Guy Fawkes’ Night, or at any time.

"As someone originally from the UK, who has now lived in New Zealand for the last decade, I still find it absolutely bizarre that we celebrate this colonial throwback of the foiling of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot in London!," says Auckland Zoo director, Kevin Buley.

"Here in the southern hemisphere, we’re heading into summer with longer, lighter evenings with many of our rare endemic bird species at the height of their breeding season. The loud unpredictable explosions in all sorts of random places, at all times of the day and night can happen for weeks following Guy Fawkes due to people stockpiling fireworks. These can potentially cause wild birds to abandon nests and are often terrifying for domestic, farm and our Zoo animals." (Currently breeding at Auckland Zoo are threatened endemic species like whio (blue duck), pāteke (brown teal) and kākāriki karaka (orange-fronted parakeet) as part of essential national recovery programmes).

"I might receive the odd accusation of being a fun sucker - wanting to take peoples’ fireworks and traditional pyrotechnic freedoms away from them, but I do like to think that nobody actually wants to see any animal so massively stressed and frightened, that they injure themselves, abandon their babies, or worse," says Buley.

Auckland Zoo believes professionally organised, planned public displays for a set time within a confined area that meet all safety criteria are a much better way for everyone to celebrate and still enjoy the spectacle of fireworks. As well as being safe for people, these displays give individuals, families, and places like zoos time to plan ahead to put measures in place to ensure the safety and welfare of animals in their care.

Along with Auckland Zoo, there’s already solid support for banning the public sale of fireworks - from Auckland Council and Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), to our colleagues at Wellington Zoo, the NZ Veterinarians Association, TÅ«puna Maunga Authority, SPCA and SAFE.

"We believe it’s absolutely the right thing for government to go ahead and implement this ban and we would really like to see this happen quickly. It will not only protect domestic animals and wildlife throughout Aotearoa, but keep people safe, protect our environment, and eliminate fires caused by fireworks and their associated impacts and costs to taxpayers," says Buley.

"Looking to the future, Auckland Zoo would also really love to see New Zealand adopt the use of silent or drone fireworks for all public displays throughout the country. Silent or drone fireworks can be equally or even more stunning, but don’t create the explosive noises that traditional fireworks do and are already being used with great success overseas in countries like Italy, China and the United Kingdom."

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