Grieving families could be forced to seek council permission if they want to scatter their loved ones’ ashes on the Kapiti Coast.
A draft bylaw up for approval by Kapiti Coast District Council next month proposes to ban people from scattering ashes on beaches, rivers and parks.
If it is approved, people would need written permission, and would be restricted to emptying urns in specific garden beds inside cemeteries.
The council says it wants to educate people, rather than creating “ashes police”, but the Funeral Directors Association has already labelled the plan as “bonkers”.
“You shouldn’t regulate anything unless there’s harm being done,” association chief executive Katrina Shanks said. “I can nearly guarantee there’s no harm being done.”
She said people who were grieving should be able to scatter ashes in places that were “very special” to them.
“Who’s going to police this? Is there someone hiding behind a tree waiting for you to scatter ashes on a beach?”
It is bonkers. What is the problem they are trying to solve?
The only thing needed is a notice on the Council website advising people if scattering ashes to be thoughtful and sensitive to others.
Council open spaces manager Nico Crous said its approach would be “more educational than regulatory”.
“We’re not going to put ashes police out there. That is not going to happen.”
But other residents did not want ashes near the likes of sports grounds, picnic tables, and particularly near sacred Maori sites, he said.
“It’s all very well for the family to say, ‘That was granddad’s request’. It might have been granddad’s request, but what about the rest of the public who are now emotionally influenced by what’s happened there?
To be blunt the public won’t be influenced as they won’t know. The Council is inventing a problem so they can pass a law.