A wry view of life for the world-weary

Curmudgeons Of The Week


There’s gratitude for you.

News reaches me this week of a bit of a to-do in Auckland over berms, the quaint name given locally to roadside verges. A couple of years ago, probably for cost-cutting reasons, the Council announced that it was no longer going to maintain the verges, handing responsibility over to the residents.

Some enterprising residents decided to cultivate the otherwise fallow land, filling the areas with flower beds, fruit trees and vegetables. Now Auckland Transport, the agency responsible for the verges, have said enough is enough and are proposing a ban on people growing foodstuffs on the berms, proposing that anyone wanting to cultivate the land buy a permit costing 150 NZ dollars a time.

Naturally, the spectre of ‘elf and safety looms its ugly head. Concerns have been expressed that crops of food stuff will encourage vermin and high-growing vegetation could pose a danger to children if they run from them into the road. Naturally, this has got the gardeners’ goat and a petition has been organised to force the Transport agency to drop its plans.

Judging by the state of our verges, boasting a fine crop of weeds and plastic bottles, this is an initiative that merits some encouragement. The only pests, methinks, are sitting in City Hall!


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