Berms being mowed again

February 3rd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Auckland Transport has quietly backed down on mowing berms, but is skimping on the quality of grass-cutting.

After months of controversy and scruffy verges, the ’s transport arm has resumed mowing berms where residents cannot do so, or refuse to.

But Auckland Transport will cut the grass only periodically, and to a lower standard than previously.

A quiet partial backdown.

Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer said he planned an amendment for the proper reinstatement of berm mowing, which could be funded from a special $101 million dividend from Auckland Airport, or internal savings.

“The policy has failed dismally and saved nothing. The silliness and constant fighting with the elderly, sick, migrants and those who don’t have a lawn mower has to stop,” he said.

My view is that the owner of the berm should be responsible for its mowing.

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37 Responses to “Berms being mowed again”

  1. Carlos (684 comments) says:

    You mean the Council owns the berm, so the Council mows it?

    Messy issue when it comes to town houses, units and people with no lawns.

    We have zero lawn, but I have taken to borrowing the neighbours’ mower and alternate mowing it with him since we share the same berm.

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  2. tvb (3,948 comments) says:

    I have a small narrow berm and I now it. Presumably those with berms have their lawns mowed and they can mow their berm as well.

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  3. alex Masterley (1,439 comments) says:

    If I had a berm I would mow it.
    No issues there

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  4. Auberon (820 comments) says:

    Most women I’ve ever known mow their own berms, but I understand some choose to get in a contractor.

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  5. CJPhoto (183 comments) says:

    We’ve always mow our own berm, and are facing the same high rates increases the central suburbs are facing.

    They just need to harden up.

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  6. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    I’ve got a way to keep the grass down – rip it out by the roots. Problem solved.

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  7. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t it be better to just asphalt all the berms one time, re-designate the thus-widened footpath a shared cycleway/footpath (like the ones that have operated successfully in Hagley Park for years) and kill two birds with one stone?

    Nobody walks much in Auckland anyway.

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  8. CJPhoto (183 comments) says:

    @Carlos – Those in townhouses/units should get the bodycorp to pay for it as part of other work they get done.

    I do wonder, how many place have ‘no lawn’, and maybe good cause for an exemption. Likewise, those with disproportionately large berms.

    Maybe a bit of civic duty is also need for those with elderly neighbors – I mow my neighbors though theirs is only a small 3m2.

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  9. Alan (922 comments) says:

    The whole thing is a farce. 80% of the region has always mowed outside their house without it being an issue.

    Thought the supercity was about standardisation ?

    If I have to pay to get into the swimming pool they can cut the grass.

    Quid pro quo

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  10. alloytoo (338 comments) says:

    I think this issue gained traction in the face increased rates and all the prevalent waste in council.

    With money wasted on Maori committees, and the bodyguards and hazmat teams following the mayor, most people would like to see a little back for their money.

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  11. berend (1,602 comments) says:

    What people are not aware of with this “Auckland” is that most wards in Auckland mow their own berms, and “the elderly, sick, migrants and those who don’t have a lawn mower” seem to have no trouble with it. Personally I fall into two of those categories.

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  12. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    Just attach some blades to Len Brown’s many spin doctors and you’d mow all the berms in Auckland in the time it takes to say “I’m passionate about and as committed as ever to Auckland”.

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  13. big bruv (12,388 comments) says:

    What’s the bet that Penny Bright has her berm mowed by the council.

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  14. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    I had a place in Lower Hutt that had huge berms. More grass there than my lawn had. I should have got a rates rebate for mowing them.

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  15. davidp (3,329 comments) says:

    So people don’t own berms, but are expected to mow them? Does that mean Aucklanders are legally allowed to mow any patch of grass they don’t own but want to make shorter? Could I take a mower up to the Domain and just start cutting all their grass if I wanted to? What about other gardening tasks… can Aucklanders cut down random trees if they want to?

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  16. mikemikemikemike (242 comments) says:

    Would it even take 10 minutes to mow even a large-ish berm? Is it that big a deal for make makes your property look better?

    I’ve always done my own berm, mainly due to the fact that I have pride in what my home looks like when I drive into it. However I see the point that if they are going to cut that as a service, where is that reflected in my rates bill.

    If there was one massive fuck up that this National/ACT government is leaving behind it is the mess that Auckland is/has become. It is a lot more expensive now that it ever was, with no changes at all to any of the council services that we used to have. Maybe rather than choose a flag, Auckland go choose to go back to the way it was – or at least an acknowledgment that it really was a bad idea.

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  17. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Mowing your own berm is reflected in your rates in that they’d go up even more than they have already if you didn’t have to mow it yourself. If you didn’t like rates going up you (the collective you – Aucklanders) shouldn’t have voted for Len Brown.

    I mow my neighbour’s berm when I mow mine. They mow mine when they mow theirs. We sometimes mow the elderly neighbours (we also fix her water when it busts, and one time I had to plane the top of her front door when it wouldn’t open any more). It’s called a community, you can’t outsource that to the council.

    I can understand where it’s a high density area (townhouses or apartments), or a commercial area, that the council might mow – nobody in those areas has lawn mowers or lawn of their own. But for normal suburbia, no way the council should be mowing other than the minimum necessary to keep it safe (i.e. not obstructing view of traffic). If you want it pretty, mow it yourself.

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  18. anticorruptionnz (80 comments) says:

    Palmers had the perfect solution http://www.transparency.net.nz/2014/02/03/auckland-council-back-tracks-on-berms/

    I also question Auckland transports statements as to why they stopped mowing Berms.. this was to ” standardize this across Auckland ” so why then is it only $4 to park all day in Henderson. why should that not apply to Newmarket, Mt Eden , Remuera , central city etc as well?

    the people who say its OK for us to mow the councils verges are obviously not the people who pay 4-5 thousand per year in rates and get nothing for it.

    why should the old lady in the front house have to mow the berm when the people in the back flats run a commercial enterprise . why should we all pay the same rates and those who have no verges out the front get away without mowing anything?

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  19. igm (881 comments) says:

    You get what you deserve when a left-wing bunch of envious scum are elected by non-ratepayers to spend your money. Get rid of Lecher, the rest may follow.

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  20. simonway (356 comments) says:

    Anticorruptionnz: parking prices should reflect market rates. The areas with highest demand should have higher prices. $4 to park all day in the city centre sounds like an outrageous subsidy to car owners.

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  21. secondcumming (78 comments) says:

    There’s no doubt things have gotten completely out of control with the way this city has been run. Perhaps a pointer to one of the reasons why, can be found in this extract from the sworn Affidavit of Bevan Chuang, as to where the focus of the Mayors real concerns had been for some time…..

    16)…….in early 2012 we were “sprung” by a security guard who walked in on us after we had just finished having sex. I was completely naked and Mr Brown still had his pants down……..Mr Brown was quite distressed, saying at the time “This is it, this is it”

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  22. MH (558 comments) says:

    taller grass is good for the bees and other good natural predators, it hasn’t worried my street one way or the other if the neighbour’s is long or short. Every street that ops out should be given a free goat,a mullah with an AK47 to look after the lawn and the goat. If a labour/Green supporter doesn’t want to use up their carbon footprint or ETS coupons they could have a sticker on their front door/window to indicate their preference. I have given this much thought but am afraid to pass on to Cunliffe in case this policy becomes misinterpreted by his frequent corrective announcements.

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  23. GPT1 (2,043 comments) says:

    Auckland is actively encouraging intensive infill housing. Sections that once had a bungalow and lots of grass now have 8 units (x8 the ratepayers) and no grass. I am all for people having some civic pride and cutting their own berms but if they don’t own a mower why should they have to buy one to cut the council’s grass?

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  24. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Far out. Is mowing a berm that hard anticorruptionnz? Really, all this noise about mowing what, 10 strips with the lawnmower?

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  25. chris (460 comments) says:

    We’ve lived here 8 years and our berms have only been mowed by the council three times in all that time so for us, Auckland Transport stopping mowing our berms was neither here nor there. I’ve always done it myself when I mowed our lawn, which is only about two or three times bigger than our berm.

    When the council said they were no longer going to mow the berms, I thought that was a bit daft given how much they spend on stupid things (like a white water rafting facility in Manukau) and that they should be spending money on core responsibilities, such as keeping our city tidy.

    I still think they should be keeping our city tidy, but given the rest of the region has been quite happily mowing their own berms for donkeys years, I don’t see why the rest of us shouldn’t too. Where’s your civic pride, after all?

    On the flip side, I do think they should do what they are going to do now, and mow berms that aren’t mowed. There are people who a) simply won’t do it and b) can’t really (the 8x flat situation, way oversized berms, etc). And we want the city to look nice.

    Now if only we could somehow get councils to stop spending our money on stupid things and decrease our rates, instead of increasing them 10% year on year for no more services. I can just bet that when the new user-pays rubbish policy comes into place that we won’t be seeing a decrease in rates…

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  26. Komata (975 comments) says:

    This is an unusual one. I live outside Auckland and have a very small road-frontage, which I mow (it looks good). The local Council (no names!) go to great lengths to tell us that THEY own the berm, and, on the basis of these statements, it would be very nice to take them at their word and leave it in their care to mow and maintain it.

    ‘Taint the case!!

    Several acquaintances tried to leave the Council land to the Council and NOT mow it.

    Big Mistake – nasty letters and demands followed!! It would appear that, although the Council-concerned holds to the opinion that, even though they actually do OWN the land, it IS NOT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO MOW OR MAINTAIN IT!! it is the ‘RESPONSIBILITY’ of the adjacent section-owner to maintain ‘their’ road-frontage (with the ‘their’ being the section-owner’). If the section -owner refuses to comply, ‘Legal Action’ will be initiated.

    Work that out if you can; either way, the Council-concerned successfully abdicates its responsibility.

    As I said, this is outside Auckland. Perhaps the Auckland council has taken the line of least resistance, and realised it is on doubtful legal ground if it attempts to enforce the unenforceable?

    It’s a pity other councils don’t take a similar view…

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  27. MH (558 comments) says:

    Still a great opportunity for new immigrants who have knowledge and understanding of Goats and Goat husbandry. You just want to make sure you don’t start up shanty looking A frame corrugated iron sheds all over the berm.

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  28. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    anticorruptionnz (44 comments) says:
    February 3rd, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    the people who say its OK for us to mow the councils verges are obviously not the people who pay 4-5 thousand per year in rates and get nothing for it.

    What have the Romans Auckland Council ever done for us! :)

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  29. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

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  30. anticorruptionnz (80 comments) says:

    Once upon a time I lived in one tree hill borough council we had service our rates were low service was excellent , I still live in the same house pay 8 times more rates now than when I moved here, my wages have not gone up 2x . the services have reduced and I see those who have councils ear make money through advising council to use their services.

    Sure its nice to have new posh things about town we would all like to have nice new top end bathrooms and kitchens in our house.. its about budgeting and planing. we do what we can afford when we can afford it not when the contractor tell us we should do it.

    We are on a budget blow out.. need more money put up the rates withdraw services and fine them more we are the source of revenue we are turning into slave labour for the few who pull the council strings.

    It is not about mowing lawns being to hard and it is not about me , it is about those who don’t have lawnmowers and it is about being dictated to by council its about democracy openness and transparency and not using the council coffers for some to benefit from and others to contribute to .

    I would like to think that If I mowed the verge out the front that council would take notice of a complaint that I make to them of council funds being misappropriated and council officers using council resources for their own enrichment. If small things like the berm outside my house matter to the coffers then so should corruption in council

    For the residents it is all accountability and enforcement yet council does not reciprocate to us , I just happen to want to see an explanation for the $55million extra in employee benefits , and the use of council premises for self enrichment of a council manager before I go out there to save the council a $1.50 on my berm

    There are some of us who think and speak up and then there is a large portion of the population which is brain dead, they say nothing or just criticize us.. they go by the premise “we have been told so it is”.. they don’t think just do as they are told . So then the non thinkers criticize the thinkers and when all is silent because they have bullied the thinkers into silence and life become a dictatorship those who don’t think will say…how did that happen ???

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  31. igm (881 comments) says:

    Don’t worry about a town berm, we are in the country and have a regional council responsible for our road frontage, it is about half a kilometre. Not only do we need to keep the whole thing cut, we have to keep extra large drains clean and sprayed (if not it can flood), pick up the shit thrown from cars, and generally keep tidy (at our own expense). It is impossible to get anything done as we are trying to get through local body bureaucrats, and they are the envious left-wing types, who don’t give a toss. We are now taking a civil action, as it pisses us off to see what townies get for their rates, and we get absolutely nothing, just extra cost and labour.

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  32. MH (558 comments) says:

    BTW the Bermese are the best people to care for your Council Lawns. Me and ma will clean out the kerb and channel.

    It was well known in past Council by laws for rural pptys that the owners of lands abutting formed roads were responsible for the maintanace of the berms even up to the Centre line,to rid them of noxious weeds etc,obviously not the repair of the road surface itself.

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  33. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    “The owner should be responsible….”
    In Davids opinion.

    Great, take for eg a block of 16 apartments, most rented. Who mows the berm there ?

    Who mows them throughout south Auckland where people don’t own a mower and the tenants don’t give a fuck ?

    There was nothing wrong with the previous status quo.

    Cut the mowing to save the council money was a crock of shit promoted by pants down Brown.

    The same POS who employed how many spin doctors at $100K pa a head.

    Again….there was nothing wrong with the previous system untill PDB fucked with it.

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  34. johnwellingtonwells (78 comments) says:

    Silent T has the answer – a KiwiMower for everyone

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  35. wrightingright (132 comments) says:

    I’ve got a MASSIVE berm outside that I mow, it is council owned, but as I mow it now…. doesn’t that mean I should have ownership over it now? I’d quite like to plant some fruit trees and flowers on it instead of just grass.

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  36. Goldsmith (15 comments) says:

    If the Greens get into Government after the next erection, all Auckland berms will be assigned a bull each to chew up and recycle your berms for you.

    If ACT get in on the next erection, Whyte the dope legalising advocating libertarian will allow property owners to grow marijuana on their berms, which they can sell to supplement the NZ economy.

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  37. mikemikemikemike (242 comments) says:

    @Bereal, you could have said the same thing about the Auckland councils to Rodney.

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