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Council Cuts Grass Costs

Auckland City will save nearly half a million dollars a year by mowing residential grass verges once a month instead of fortnightly.

Deputy Mayor David Hay says none of the neighbouring local bodies in the Auckland region or any of the other large local authorities provide “more than a basic berm-mowing service – yet the overall appearance of their streetscapes is indistinguishable from Auckland’s.”

He says Waitakere City and Manukau do very little grass-verge mowing and in some cases ask residents to pay if the council has to cut grass that has become too long.

Five years ago Auckland City’s contractors mowed 35 to 50 per cent of residential berms, while residents managed the rest. The current number of berms mowed is more than 70 per cent.

“Many residents now have such high expectations of the council’s service that some lodge a complaint if the grass is not cut on the dot every two weeks,” said Councillor Hay. “But all this comes at a cost and we’ve decided there are real savings for ratepayers here – it’ll add up to about $450,000 a year.”

He says that in New Plymouth the council told residents it would stop mowing grass verges altogether, thereby putting the onus fully on residents. There had been “initial resistance” but generally residents had taken on the responsibility themselves.

Christchurch discouraged people from using the council service by not cutting grass until it was 200 mm long whereas in Auckland the council had been cutting the grass once it reached 35 mm to 50 mm.

Each year Auckland City acquires about five hectares of new parkland and some of the savings will be used to develop and maintain new parks such as the Hillsborough Premier Park.

Road reserves and high-profile arterial routes will still be mown each fortnight.


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