Cleaning a right royal mess
Manawatu roadside cleanup teams have given the area an extra-hard polish ahead of today's royal visit.
"Got to put the best face forward," said Nimmo Sandilands, who was out on his regular rubbish pickup patrol on State Highway 54 on Camerons Line near the intersection of Aorangi Rd yesterday.
Wearing stout leather gloves, a hard hat and hi-vis vest, Mr Sandilands' sharp eyes and long-pronged rubbish grab were ferreting for cardboard, soft-drink cans, bottles, paper waste, bits of rubber, fast-food packaging, used contraceptives and food scraps out of the roadside grass.
"You wouldn't believe what people chuck out their car windows.
"I reckon 40 per cent of people just open the windows and let fly."
He cited a recent cleanup of Lake Taupo's shore, where 160 volunteers gathered 360 kilograms of rubbish in a blitz.
And the roadside beauty spots where motorists are encouraged to stop were probably the worst-hit by litter vandals, in his experience.
"Lots of household rubbish dumped in the picnic spots, kilos of it. People are just too lazy to get rid of it the proper way."
He has been a roadside dustie for Higgins for several years, and said he had lost several kilos in weight on the job and had gained philosophical insights about New Zealanders. "You wouldn't believe what people dump."