Saturday burial fee in Porirua questioned
Dennis Makalio is bugged by the cost to bury someone on a Saturday in Porirua.
The Mongrel Mob Rogue member said he was speaking for members of the community who were finding the surcharge for a burial at Whenua Tapu on a Saturday restrictive.
The cost of a standard-sized plot and to bury someone in Porirua is $2088. That rises nearly $400 for a plot that is over-sized and there is an extra $690 fee for a Saturday burial.
‘‘The surcharge for Saturday is unfair,’’ Makalio said. ‘‘Are you telling me it’s $690 to have two people working on Saturday? Whatever, that’s ripping people off, mostly people who can barely afford these costs in the first place.
‘‘I understand you have to pay people to work on the weekend, but what they’re charging right now is too high – that’s some hourly rate they have those workers on.’’
Makalio said he was often involved in talking to funeral homes about costs.
Porirua City Council parks manager Olivia Dovey said the surcharge was reasonable for staff starting at 7am and working for five hours on a weekend day, often tidying up after a funeral had finished.
She said that in her experience most people preferred to have funerals during the week – since last July, just four of 107 burials in Porirua had been on a Saturday.
The Saturday charge varies around the region. Wellington City charges $646, Lower Hutt $410, Upper Hutt $324 and Kapiti $759.
Makalio said people should refuse to pay it.
‘‘We pay rates that are high already. There needs to be a solution to suit people who can’t afford it,’’ he said.
‘‘This is a community that works for each other and the council should be coming to the party here. Unless you question things, they’ll charge you more all over the place.’’
Dovey said the $690 cost had risen only by inflation in the last three years and the fees were set annually. The next review of the council’s fees and charges is due early next year and community input was always welcome.
‘‘If we were to increase them, we would consult [with the public],’’ she said.
Martin Edwards, left, and Dennis Makalio, who object to the cost of a Saturday burial in Porirua.