Council chief executive tells resident 'buy a new mower'

Otatara resident Brent Fraser with his bogged lawn mower which the council refused to tow out.
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ

Otatara resident Brent Fraser with his bogged lawn mower which the council refused to tow out.

Twice Brent Fraser's lawnmower got stuck in the boggy grass berm and twice the council towed him out.

The third time they didn't. 

"[They] said 'no, we're not going to tow you again, you've got stuck twice before'," Fraser said. 

Invercargill City Council chief executive Richard King's response: "A bit of common sense goes a long way."

Berms are property of the council, and Brent Fraser, of Otatara, works to keep the one in front of his property tidy.

The former TVNZ reporter's berm had a drainage problem, which Fraser said council staff planned to fix last year but never did. 

"It started flooding and the water wasn't dissipating at all." 

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After he got stuck the third time and was refused help, Fraser said to staff: "Well actually, it's your property and this has caused my mower to get bogged." 

King said Fraser appeared to be the only resident on the street with the drainage issue.

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The council would have a look at the drainage, which was "relatively new" as it was established in 1995. 

King suggested since this was the third time Fraser had become stuck, perhaps the mower was not suitable. 

"A bit of common sense goes a long way. Driving through the boggy berms, you've got to be careful." 

King said he suggested Fraser buy a weed-eater or push-mower. 

Fraser said King called him on Tuesday morning and said he should buy a new mower. 

Fraser disagreed with King's suggestion he buy a weed-eater or a push-mower. The $17,000 mower he owned was the best money could buy, he said.

King's suggestion "felt like bullying tactics", he said. 

"I thought 'my god, what kind of council is this'. I mean it's not a dictatorship," Fraser said. 

Fraser said he had to leave the mower on the berm outside his property overnight because he could not move it. 

He called his insurance provider because he feared it could be stolen. 

Fraser's neighbour helped him to move the mower the next day. 

* Comments on this story are now closed.

 - Stuff

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