Time to end Guy Fawkes?
Guy Fawkes day is fast approaching. It is that day of the year when we celebrate an act of terrorism that occurred on the other side of the world involving a direct attack on a democratic institution by burning fires and letting off combustible devices that scare domestic animals and threaten widespread fire.
You may notice that I am not much of a fan.
While the visuals can be spectacular the noise and the associated fire risk are not. And what seems to be an endless lead up to the event itself involving further random use of incendiary devices is a real pain not to mention destructive of sleep and of the environment.
The timing of the event is pretty bad. November is usually the start of the dry season. The West Coast with its rugged cliffs, abundant plant life, hard to access areas and dedicated but widely stretched fire brigades, is particularly at threat on Guy Fawkes day and during the lead up.
There is significant support for banning the private sale of fireworks. Local residents and ratepayers groups have supported the move and have petitioned the Government to do this. Auckland Council has formally requested that the private sale of fireworks be banned but so far the Government has declined to act.
There has been a call to change the event to Matariki day. I think the proposal has some merit. Dusk is earlier, the risk of fire spreading is greatly reduced, and we would be celebrating something of local cultural significance, not an act of terrorism from 400 years ago.
After the new Government is sworn in it may pay to again to raise the issue.