1 Jun 2016

Wellington Council backs down on burial fee

6:38 pm on 1 June 2016

A proposed charge for people who arrive late to burials has been scrapped by Wellington City Council.

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Photo: RNZ/ Tracy Neal

The proposed change would have resulted in a $50 "service fee" if a group was more than an hour late to a burial or cremation at Wellington cemeteries.

The fee was soundly defeated at a council committee meeting earlier today.

Only one councillor, Ray Ahipene-Mercer, voted in favour.

Councillor Paul Eagle said the proposed charge was mean-spirited.

"Part of the council process is that teams are encouraged to look for ways they can generate revenue, and I think we've just got it wrong here. It used to be in place, we pulled it out a couple of years ago, there's only one or two people per year that this impacts, it's something that we will discuss today, and I don't think it is going to go too much further."

Mr Eagle said the last thing grieving families needed was to be slapped with a fee.

Harbour City Funeral Home director Simon Manning earlier said people were hardly ever late to burials and the proposal was uncaring of people grieving for their loved ones.

"It happens maybe twice a year, well the amount of time they're wasting in putting this fee in place is just ridiculous.

"If it happens twice a year, they're going to get $100 and how much time have they wasted discussing it? It's just ludicrous."

A similar fee, which saw groups charged $100 for every half-hour they were late, was scrapped in 2013.