What can I do to help?
First: Subscribe. Second, get your friends and family to subscribe. Your subscription is proof of your vote of support.
Second: Get any organisation or club you are a member of to subscribe. Get agreement then sign up and send us a short email. It can be your soccer club, your church, your book group, your staff social club, or your branch of Grey Power. You simply show your organisation agrees with our founding principle - that everyone should have the right to an affordable and dignified funeral.
Third: Contribute your time.
Fourth: Donate. Our staff are unpaid. All your money goes direct to printing and publicity expenses.
Fifth: Be part of our research work. We want to hear people's stories, good and bad, so we can present a sound picture of what is happening out there in funeral-land.
Can’t people D.I.Y. a funeral process already?
A lot of people think organising the service themselves, making the coffin and so on makes them D.I.Y.ers. It's great all that is happening, but until the government sorts it's dysfuctional paperwork system and other obstacles, most NZers will continue to be forced to engage funeral directors whether they want to or not.
Are you against funeral directors?
No, we just want to make sure people New Zealand as a whole isn't forced to engage them by a dysfunctional paperwork system. If funeral debt is a big problem for the public, then it is sure to be a problem for the funeral industry.
There's a review of the law happening. How come the Ministry of Health, the Law Commission and the Department of Internal Affairs didn't pick up on this issue?
Big institutions inevitably end up protecting big business if the individuals within them lack integrity. The small, well-resourced D.I.Y. funeral movement also lends the public servants involved a get-out-of-jail- card. While it is, in certain, circumstances possible to D.I.Y. a funeral, those doing so are only a tiny minority, and are mainly opting for burial. Burial paperwork is simpler than that of cremation. Negotiating cremation paperwork without a funeral director is rare. Even if doctors are willing to assist they usually don't know enough to help.
Why is it the medical community have defaulted to the funeral industry?
The medical community has been captured by the funeral industry; that is, they have unconsciously adopted the mindset the funeral industry wishes them to have. The default to industry interests appears to have happened very slowly over the years as cremation has become more popular, and the American Way of Death - i.e. the commercial business model - has taken over.
I'm a natural burial advocate and all for D.I.Y. But you're advocating for cheaper cremations and cremations aren't environmentally friendly.
We share your environmental concerns. A big part of the problem facing both our campaign and those pushing for better methods of body "disposal" is the dysfunction within the MoH. For example, the MoH is refusing to approve terramation when a perfectly good regulatory framework, that for cremation, already exists.
We hope our work will encourage people to think about all aspects of the funeral process. Once people are freed from the steep cost of hiring funeral directors we hope that this will mean more people can afford to go for natural burials. Natural burial costs are, of course, too high and we aim to tackle that issue in due course.
We do caution people that while natural burial's are in themselves eco-friendly, frequently these environmental gains are lost by the impact of the funeral entourage driving to the cemetery en-masse and by the travel miles accuulated by those attending the funeral service.
How much should cremation cost?
Once proper duty of care is put in place by the Government, you should normally be able to do it for well under $1000, including the doctors fee. Burial is more expensive because of the cost of the plots.