Fuse ready to light after climbdown


New Year’s Eve fireworks will again light up Queenstown Bay tonight after Queenstown Lakes District Council’s regulator backed off prosecuting pyrotechnics expert Bill Falcone.

In a Christmas Eve email, Lakes Environmental boss Hamish Dobbie told Falcone the regulator had applied to the Department of Labour for a compliance order banning the popular display, after declaring Falcone’s plan “legally deficient”.

However, Dobbie’s email goes on to say that DOL then informed LE it didn’t have jurisdiction to issue a banning order.

Maritime New Zealand, which has authority over on-water displays, was “satisfied” with Falcone’s plan,

Dobbie’s email said. “LE is satisfied that the display can proceed and no further action by us is necessary,” Dobbie concluded.

Although the email “addressed every­­­thing”, Falcone remains unhappy that LE tried to ban him when the
council quango “doesn’t have the expertise, the authority or the jurisdiction to do that”.

LE faulted Falcone’s plan mainly because he won’t be removing moored boats by Queenstown Gardens on the fringe of his exclusion zone.

The eight-to-10 minute display tonight, launched from a barge on the stroke of midnight, will detonate more big shells than last New Year, Falcone says.

It’s understood QLDC’s fireworks budget is about $10,000.