Auckland City Council Now Waiving Cremation Fees For Infants

It’s a sad day when parents have to look through cremation urns for infants, a sentiment that the Auckland Council empathizes and understands. The city count has recently announced that it’ll be waiving cremation fees for the cremation of infants under one year of age.

Starting at the 1st of July, the Auckland Council stopped cremation fees for infants under the age range, as a way of supporting grieving whānau (family). Manukau-Papakura Councillor Daniel Newman, one of the proponents of the regulation, says that the change was brought about by the deep sense of compassion and empathy for the families who have experienced such terrible tragedies like the death of someone so young. He says that he’s a councilor from South Auckland, but more importantly, he has empathy for families in his region.

The Auckland Council won’t be losing much from waiving fees for infant cremations, which only rakes in about $14,000 annually. Over the 12 months leading up the June of 2018, there was about 59 cremations of infants under one year of age at Manukau cemetery, 19 at North Shore, and 4Waikumete, with the fee costing about $170.

He expressed belief that grieving parents, who already had to look for cremation urns for infants, should not have to pay for the cremation fees of their babies. He adds that he’s looking to waive burial costs and the cost of burial plots, but that’s something he’ll leave for the next Annual Plan discussion.

President of the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand, Gary Taylor, says that he welcomes the move, saying that it matches the organization’s compassionate to funerals and cremation. He says that the organizationdoesn’t want to put anything that might get in the way of anyone properly sending off their duly departed, regardless of how old their relative is. He says that the funeral industry should be looking and encouraging ways to make the process of grieving easier for people.

Not all city councils agree, however, with Hamilton City charging a cost-recovery fee of  $125, with them saying that there’s little chance of them waiving these fees currently. The Wellington City Council, meanwhile, charges for the cremations, with no plans to waive the fee.

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