Fee to scatter ashes unlikely

It is unlikely Auckland families could be charged to scatter the ashes of their loved ones, the city's Mayor, Len Brown, says.

A proposed Auckland council bylaw would require people to apply for written approval to scatter human ashes in public places and pay "applicable fees" to the council as part of a wider bylaw covering cemeteries and crematoria in Auckland.

However, the mayor said he doubted the council would impose a fee and believed it would be difficult to implement, and the sensitive area did not need unnecessary interference from the council.

"My view is we can find a commonsense way through here without a heavy handed application of bylaws," Brown said on Firstline this morning.

Last week Auckland Regulatory and Bylaws Committee chairman, Calum Penrose, said it is time for the discussion as more people were choosing the scattering of ashes instead of traditional burial methods.

"You have got to be careful where ashes go - they could end up in water people drink," he said.

Penrose said he was unsure of the logic of charging people for scattering ashes and was looking forward to hearing from funeral directors at the panel.

Auckland Council manages 52 cemeteries with only 30 in operation. The new bylaw and code of practice is planned to replace eight bylaws inherited from former councils and is expected to come into force in November 2014.

"It's an issue close to people's hearts," he said.

"Ratepayers pay their rates and contribute to the plots - we have to do it right the first time."