17 May 2018

Council resumes pre-bookings for burial plots

7:52 am on 17 May 2018

The Marlborough District Council is set to resume pre-booking of burial plots in high-demand cemeteries.

No caption.

Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

It plans to adopt a revised cemetery bylaw at a meeting today which sets new terms and conditions on reserving burial space.

Councillor Michael Fitzpatrick said the halt on pre-bookings a few years ago allowed the council time to tidy up its record-keeping.

He told RNZ problems began emerging when it was discovered some people had multiple burial plots booked around the country, meaning others were being left vacant for years.

"Because we didn't know if these people had moved offshore, whether they'd passed away in another town and been buried there because the family wasn't aware they'd booked a plot in Blenheim.

"We've had instances where people have got multiple plots throughout New Zealand."

Mr Fitzpatrick said the revised rules mean there will now be a time limit on how long someone can reserve a space, and a renewal fee will apply.

The Marlborough District Council is in charge of seven cemeteries across the district, from Fairhall to Havelock, Omaka, Picton, Seddon, Tuamarina and Ward.

A range of burial options exist. The most expensive burial plot in a Marlborough cemetery is just over $1000 while an interment (ashes) burial is just under $700.