Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city is going though a reorganisation and the intention is the bring a number of boroughs together to make a ‘Super City’ the consequence of this is that city legislators need to streamline the various bylaws if things are to work smoothly, all well and good so far.
The bylaws relating to cemeteries and crematoria is one that they are working on and the suggestion put forward has been that the scattering of ashes should be regulated, basically asking people to get permission before they scatter. I can see why this would arise: legislators tend to look to legislation to solve problems and there has been growing disquiet from the countries indigenous Maori population about people scattering ashes in places that they feel strongly are scared or generally unacceptable. So what does the legislator think? ‘Umm if I make it the law that people let us know where they wish to scatter, I can say no where appropriate and then the problem will go away’
All well and good to a point, but there are two flaws to this plan as I see it. Firstly scattering is very emotive and those willing to comply would probably be responsible in the first place, thus you are impinging the wrong people. Secondly if you make a law you should enforce it even at a cursory level, so what, an Ashes Warden lucking around with a ticket book hiding behind the park bushes for a tell-tail sign of dust? Okayperhaps that is a bit silly, but even if you gave some additional power to health or environment inspectors the actual enforcement would be unworkable.
I can see both sides: unworkable; bureaucratic; another tax; the quantities don’t warrant a legislative solution
Compared to: the need to protect cultural sensitivities and embed sensitive behaviour
Judging by the outcry I sense this will be kicked into touch. However a targeted information campaign using funeral directors as a conduit may be a better solution. Most people want to do the right thing, you need to inform the ignorant and perhaps accept there always will be some people who will stick two fingers up.