Chapter 7
Reform options: a modern approach to cemetery management


7.1In the preceding chapters we provided a preliminary assessment of the problems and issues arising under the current legal framework. This chapter presents options for reform.

7.2We begin by outlining the key elements of the proposed reform package and their underlying policy rationales. The options we put forward for public consultation in this chapter range from fundamental policy reforms to technical legal changes. Some of the technical changes are necessary to support the new framework; other changes are more modest updates to bring our burial law in line with other statutes such as the Local Government Act 2002 and the Resource Management Act 1991.

7.3The reforms we outline in this chapter are founded on the principles and policy drivers outlined in the introductory chapters to this Issues Paper. Specifically, our objectives are to ensure that all New Zealanders have access to appropriate burial options and that the range of public and private interests we have identified in the preceding chapters, including respect for fundamental human rights, are given adequate protection.

7.4A second policy driver is to create a simpler and more certain allocation of roles and responsibilities within the cemetery sector, including between central and local government. In our assessment, the current law is vague, silent, or ambiguous in many places, which has the potential to create a range of problems.

7.5Finally, it is our view that the management of cemeteries raises significant land use issues that are not being adequately addressed under the current law. We therefore consider that a further policy driver is to promote the sustainable management of cemetery land. This has informed our approach to the management of existing open cemeteries, the establishment of new cemeteries, and the management of closed cemeteries and burial grounds.