Chapter 10
Funeral sector overview


10.1 Our terms of reference require us to consider the regulation of funeral directors, and specifically whether the status quo should be retained or whether an alternative system of regulation should be instituted. At some stage in our lives, most of us will experience the death of a loved one and will have to consider how to go about organising a funeral. This will generally be done with the assistance of a funeral director, who will provide a range of services.421  Because of the widespread use of funeral directors, we consider that developing the appropriate regulatory framework for this service is an important matter of interest for New Zealanders.

10.2In this Part, we provide an overview of New Zealand’s funeral services industry and a preliminary assessment of some of the issues beginning to emerge. We begin in this chapter by describing this industry in more detail and outlining the legal and regulatory environment within which funeral directors operate. In chapter 11 we discuss the unique characteristics of the market in which funeral services are provided and ask whether existing regulation is effective and fit for purpose or whether there is a case for reform. In chapter 12 we set out a range of preliminary proposals designed to address some of issues we have identified in the course of our initial research and consultation.

421C Schafer “Dead serious? Funeral directing in New Zealand” (2008) 4 Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies 95 at 95.