Death rate drop prompts ceme­tery re­view

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By FLORENCE KERR

With fewer peo­ple dy­ing, the coun­cil’s plans to ex­pand at ceme­ter­ies will be re­viewed.

At a South Waikato District Coun­cil meet­ing it was re­ported that the num­ber of buri­als were ‘‘well be­low the av­er­age of pre­vi­ous years with only four fur­ther buri­als in the last month’’, group man­ager of as­sets Roger Fisher said in his re­port to coun­cil.

The un­der-used plots have im­pacted on the coun­cil’s bud­geted in­come which Mr Fisher said ‘‘is now be­low that pro­jected for the year’’.

The coun­cil will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the fig­ures to see if this is the start of a ‘‘slight’’ down­ward trend.

‘‘This may im­pact on our pro­jected pro­gramme of de­vel­op­ment work and ex­tend our es­ti­mated ca­pac­ity for each of the district ceme­ter­ies.’’

Mayor Neil Sin­clair thinks it may be a sign more peo­ple are opt­ing to be cre­mated.

‘‘This is of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to us be­cause when we plan the ex­pan­sion of ceme­ter­ies in the district we need to see if there is a de­mand.

‘‘We have started ex­ten­sions at Pu­taruru Do­main Road Ceme­tery. I think more peo­ple are opt­ing to be cre­mated.’’

Mr Sin­clair told South Waikato News when his time came he wanted to be buried in Pu­taruru be­cause it was ‘‘home’’.

‘‘Pu­taruru is where my bones will go, in say­ing that I have no plans to fill my plot yet, I have too much work to fin­ish for the com­mu­nity,’’ Mr Sin­clair said.

South Waikato Fu­neral Ser­vices gen­eral man­ager Derek Moss­man said that the cre­ma­tion rate has not spiked but the death rate had plum­meted.

‘‘This year the death rate has dropped sub­stan­tially.

‘‘It is the low­est it has been in five years.’’

Mr Moss­man said tra­di­tion­ally win­ter was the ‘‘ busiest time’’ for fu­neral direc­tors.

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