Watching grass grow: Woman‘s wait for berm trim

The berm outside Angie Baggaley's property. Photo and video / Andrew Warner / Rotorua Daily Post.

They say the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but one Rotorua pensioner just wants the council to mow her berm.

However, the council says the lawns had been mowed in error by a contractor in the past and it's up to residents to mow berms outside their properties.

Angie Baggaley, 73, says she called Rotorua Lakes Council at least six times over four months to come and mow the lawn, which is now a metre high in some places, to no avail.

Baggaley, who had lived at her Te Ngae Rd home for about 18 years, told Local Democracy Reporting she couldn’t mow the lawn herself due to a hip issue, but she believes it's the council’s responsibility.

“Just send a bloody ride on [mower] out here and just mow it.

“I’m getting sick [of waiting]. I’m at a loss. We pay our rates, why can’t they keep up? Why are they not doing what they’re supposed to do?”

Baggaley says she doesn't want to see more “monuments and statues” - such as the Hemo Gorge sculpture and the redeveloped Rotorua lakefront – when the council can’t “get the basics done”.

She says as her home is near the exit to Rotorua from the airport it doesn’t contribute to a good first impression for visitors.

“Come to Rotorua and have a great time, well, if you can get through the grass you could.

“It doesn’t take a bloody genius to mow a … lawn does it?”

Council infrastructure and environment deputy chief executive Stavros Michael says the council doesn't routinely provide or rate for berm-mowing services.

"Having looked into this particular situation, we have found that these berms were being mowed in error by our contractor, which stopped late last year when the error was picked up.”

He says that change has not been communicated to Baggaley “as it should have been” and he apologised, saying the council has spoken with her on Tuesday and will follow up with her further.

"We will get the berms mowed in the meantime, while we work through what needs to happen in future.

“Like local authorities across New Zealand, we see these berms as property frontages and how well they are kept impacts on the attractiveness of properties.

“Normally residents mow berms outside their properties. Family, neighbours and friends often assist where people are not able to do this themselves or if they do not have a contractor they pay to do their lawns.”

He says the Ministry of Social Development may also be able to provide support for the service for some pensioners.

Michael confirms berms are owned by the council, with their purpose to enable utilities and potential future road enhancements.

He also confirms the council had at least three calls from Baggaley on record but may not have kept a record of all of them.

-Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Grow up

Posted on 13-03-2022 16:40 | By First Responder

Grow up and take some pride in your property. There’s a lot that can’t even afford a house. Look at the suffering in Ukraine. I can’t believe you even got mentioned in the news


Posted on 11-03-2022 07:47 | By Slim Shady

When the concrete path needs replacing does she have to do it? No. Mow your grass Council.


Posted on 10-03-2022 13:41 | By morepork

Yep, they DO expect us to put fuel in their cars as well... A portion of our Rates covers it.


Posted on 10-03-2022 13:40 | By morepork

If you use glycophospates (like "Round Up") you are simply putting yourself and your neighbours at risk. Furthermore, any vegetables that succeeded in growing in the "dug over" area would be toxic. Irrefutable, unbiased, scientific evidence (from sources OTHER THAN Monsanto) has shown these chemicals to be toxic and carcinogenic in Humans. Best avoided.


Posted on 09-03-2022 23:13 | By Walbuck

So its council land But they expect residents to mow it Maybe they’d like us to put fuel in their cars too

Simple solution -

Posted on 09-03-2022 20:42 | By The Caveman

a quick spray with weedkiller will keep the grass (and weeds) in check for about 6 months.

Nice council response

Posted on 09-03-2022 16:21 | By SonnyJim

Nice to see that the council will have a contractor pop out and mow the frontages and that property owners may get advice on their community responsibilities? Property renters may get a door-knock or pamphlet regarding roadside berms as berm mowing is usually a part of rental agreements.

Berm use

Posted on 09-03-2022 12:44 | By CliftonGuy

Suggest you spray with glyphosate, dig over and plant flowers (or veggies).

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