Most people opt to keep their duly departed in cremation urns as a matter of belief, and to honour the wishes of their loved ones. However, the New Zealand Funeral Directors Association.
Association President Gary Taylor says that people that aren’t too well financially can access funeral grants via the Work and Income programme, but the problem was that the grant isn’t able to keep up with the increasing costs of funerals.
Reportedly, the maximum amount that people can claim annually, with inflation taken into account, sits around $2058.52. Taylor says that the grant isn’t enough, noting that the fact of the matter is that the burial cost is outstripping the ability of New Zealand’s families to pay, and that’s leading to them making decisions that they wouldn’t make otherwise.
Taylor says points out that that isn’t helpful for the grieving families, as it takes away their cultural and religious requirements, which commonly are for burials and coffins, not cremation urns, which might be something people might not be entire comfortable with.
Taylor report that a cremation in New Zealand will set people back anywhere between $400 to $800. For comparison a burial costs anywhere between $4000 to $8000. The exceptionally high costs is due to the costs of council burial plot, which have been on the rise. Taylor notes that fees can cost anywhere up to $8000 for a plot, while a funeral grant can only go up to $2000. The gap, Taylor notes, is only getting bigger.
Auckland Action Against Poverty advocate KathleeParaha says that cremation isn’t the option for many of New Zealand’s Māori whānau, as well as the kaupapa; they don’t burn their bodies. She says that the price of funerals putting them in poverty, they have no choice, forcing them into painful decisions.
Auckland Funeral Director Nick Bakulich says that the attitude of New Zealanders were changing, as people explore cremation more and more, due, by and large, due to the costs. Some families have to make a choice between their cultural or religious beliefs with the costs of a burial, which they have to go into debt for. The problem is that, for some people, that simply isn’t a choice.