Then they came for your fireworks

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By Beth Houlbrooke
ACT Deputy Leader / Vice President??


The fun police have struck in Auckland, and where Auckland goes, the rest of the country follows. I?ve said before, I?m a huge fireworks fan and make no apology for it. I?m pleased to be in the?good company of Damian Grant?on this one.There are already enough laws in place that regulate the sale and use of fireworks; do they really require a ban?

I was so looking forward to letting this off in November!


I?m a recent convert to Magic Talk on 702 AM (in Auckland). Who knew that benign, perennial and immortal newsreader, Peter Williams, now Magic Talk?s Morning host, was practically one of us? quote.

If there is a complete ban on the private sale and use of fireworks, then what will happen is what always happens when you ban something. There will be underground, black market, illegal – whatever you want to call them – sales of fireworks and it will be for much more than just the few days around Guy Fawkes every spring. end quote


I?m with the Mayor of Hurunui.  What use is signing a declaration other than hairy chest-beating?  What?s important is that we look after our environment now and in the future.  Stop trashing the joint.  Plan, mitigate, and build resilience ? not just government but individual property owners ? for every eventuality, be it flood or drought, fire or ice. quote.

Dalley said while the declaration was well-intentioned, it was without parameters and costings, and did not give any details of what the council would be committing current and future ratepayers to.

“What is important, and unanimous, is that the Hurunui District Council takes planning for all natural hazards seriously and does everything in our power to plan accordingly within our sphere of influence.” end quote.


Interestingly I have just come today from a Local Government NZ zone meeting, where Localism was one of the main agenda items. The?NZ Initiative?s papers?on this make interesting reading and discussion. An example given of where centralisation is the antithesis of localism, was the combining of polytechnics. Sound familiar? Not keeping our schools local by retaining parent-elected boards of trustees, but instead centralising decision making to ?hubs?, would be another glaring example.

While on a board of trustees at a small rural school for six years, some of the localised decisions I remember making were: 

  • allowing the kids to wear bare feet
  • giving permission to ride their horse or pony to school and providing somewhere to tie it up and water/feed
  • including swimming lessons in the curriculum
  • setting the appropriate level of school donation
  • retaining the bi-annual school working bee of painting and chopping firewood
  • keeping our classrooms heated with fire boxes
  • trading one school day for a Saturday ag (?Show?) day
  • not having a uniform
  • paying a bit extra to top up the Ministry?s school bus allocation so that our rural kids could be picked up or delivered more safely on an extended route
  • providing non-compulsory religious instruction
  • not accepting the Ministry?s offer of a prefabricated classroom once our roll outgrew our three classrooms, but waiting and fundraising the difference to build something more in keeping with the character of the school, and coping with the larger class sizes in the meantime.?

We wrote and revised our own school policies, five year strategic plan, annual development plan, and maintenance plan.  We advertised, interviewed and hired our teachers and principal.  It is hard to imagine these decisions being made by a centralised hub responsible for a wide network of 125 schools, spanning rural and urban communities. One thing I have learnt from my involvement in local government is that decisions are best made as close to the community affected as possible.  If school communities lack the capacity to bring together enough experienced trustees to carry out this function, then give them the option of administration ? this is already possible.

This is why I?m happy to support David and Stephen in running this very important campaign. Please?visit our campaign website to sign the petition?and?donate so we can get the word out as far as possible and encourage large numbers of submissions on the Tomorrow?s Schools Review. You can?give your own feedback now, it is open until 7 April 2019.

You can also read David?s opinion piece in Stuff here.


I did say there had been a lot already said about the proposed Capital Gains Tax by people far more eloquent and knowledgeable than me.  Here are a few from this week in case you missed reading them:

Sir Roger Douglas             

David Farrar, Kiwiblog              

Barry Soper, Newstalk ZB             

Have a great weekend everyone!