Baby boomers add to coffin coffers

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014
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Poll: The Invercargill City Council is experiencing a boost in income from burial plots.

It expects to make thousands more dollars in the coming years as it forecasts a higher demand for new grave sites as another generation was beginning to die off.

"We are seeing another generation come through, who (are) purchasing new plots, which is increasing income," said Invercargill City Council parks manager Robin Pagan.

Most people being buried recently were being placed in a shared grave with their loved one - a plot the family had already paid for the first time around, he said.

Now council was predicting a $60,000 increase in income from people being buried in new graves in the next financial year, he said.

University of Otago senior lecturer of anthropology specialising in religion and ritual, Cyril Schafer, said the trend was consistent with the first of the baby boomers dying.

Councils had expected the influx and had prepared by finding extra land and space, but some were also enjoying a boost in income.

Mr Pagan said it was still popular for people to be buried with their loved ones.

As the council only charged once for a plot and did not sting the family with the cost of the plot twice, they scooped the income when the first person died.

"We are anticipating . . . $50,000 to $60,000 extra income potentially coming in from this."

In a few years, the income would decrease as the partner of the deceased died and the plot was already paid for, he said.

While the city council charged for a plot only once, the Southland District Council council charged the same rate per burial, regardless of whether the spouse was being buried with a partner or not.

Southland District Council strategic property manager Kevin McNaught said the district council's fee structure was "fundamentally different" to that of the city council.

"The fee is for each interment, rather than being based on the size of each plot,

"And that's regardless of whether it is double or single."

Gore District Council parks and recreation manager Ian Soper said the council was not aware of a similar trend and was not expecting a significant change to council income from the burials.

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- The Southland Times

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