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