A open letter to Len Brown from a reader about Bushy Berms

A reader emailed me and asked to post an Open Letter to Len Brown about the bushy berms and why he is protesting.

Berms in Auckland

Georges Berms don’t even have paved edges

Dear Len

Firstly I’d like to start by saying I don’t like you. I can’t complain about you being mayor of Auckland as I didn’t vote in the last election and that’s my problem, I recognise you as the elected mayor and I actually blame myself for you becoming mayor. That doesn’t mean I have to like you as the mayor.

I’m writing to say why I am protesting about you ceasing to mow my berm and in turn I refuse to mow it myself.

In the last 2 years you have pushed my rates up by 20%, both years you have wanted to put my rates up by 14% but have generously *cough* capped them at 10% so its safe to say my rates will go up another 10% next year, 30% in 3 years, nice!

Now I discover through the media that you stopped mowing my berm in July, why didn’t you tell me this? Is it because I don’t like you? Surely we can be professional about this? And what is your reasoning? To save $13-18m per year. $18m divided by 500k houses is $36/year, not a patch on what you have been reaming me by with the rates increases!?

So in the last 2 years you have bent me over and put your grubby fingers in my wallet, and what for? Additional services? No. Instead you have stripped services and charged me for the pleasure. Where is my money going? Hydro-slide in South Auckland? Building Te Papa North in South Auckland (est. cost of $40m)? Where do you live again?

Who is going to use Te Papa North? Tourists are not going to travel there for it. Folks from the Auckland central and North Shore are not going to drive and park around there for fear of their cars being stolen. No doubt we will be paying hand over fist every year to keep it afloat too.

George's berms don't even have paved edges

George’s berms don’t even have paved edges

So apparently the berm is my responsibility now. In what capacity? Can I do with it as I please? Plant a vege garden? Concrete it over? Astroturf? Put an art installation on it? Can I plant it in clover to attract more bees for my garden? Plant it out in Agapanthus? Can I tether a goat to keep the grass short? Can I just Round-up (other brands are available) it and put my feet up for the summer?

Tell me, what is the legal requirement for me to mow the berm? Maximum length of grass? Not too many weeds?

What happens if I don’t mow it, what are you going to do to me? I hope the punishment isn’t your singing, I’d mow it in a heartbeat and the neighbours too!

Since you have forced this responsibility on me can you give me a copy of the rules so I have a guideline to work by? Where is the communication?

Now, if you take a look at the attached photos of my berm you’ll see I don’t have a curb. What is your intention with this? Are you going to give me a curb before the berm erodes away completely? Is the erosion my responsibility?

Speaking of other responsibilities, what happens if my mower flicks up a stone and breaks the window of a parked car, am I liable? Can I get an insurance payout for it? Can I invoice you for it?

If my only mower is a ride-on, is that recognised as a vehicle that can be driven on the sidewalk, you’ve already decreed that Segways can’t go on the sidewalk (unless its a council one of course *cough, hypocrite, cough*). According to the Police I can’t take a ride-on lawnmower on the sidewalk. Lets say hypothetically I’m using my ride-on to cut the berm and break a car widow with a flicked up stone, what happens then? I definitely cannot claim insurance as I’m driving illegally. Oh Lordy, what is a bloke to do?

Heres another one for you, if the daisies or clover flowers come up before I get around to mowing the lawn and attract bees, am I liable for someone getting a bee-sting? Should I put up a warning sign to clear my liability?

I’m not made of money (especially after your exorbitant rates increases) so I don’t have a mulching mower, this means all of a sudden I have an extra catcher of grass, more volume for my rubbish bin. Hey, don’t you guys want to start charging us extra for rubbish collection or reduce the collection frequency? Hows that going to work?

Lets see, 500k households all with an extra catcher of grass, that is going to add up to a lot more diesel fumes going from home to refuse depot and then to the landfill, that’s all going to contribute to the man-made *cough* global warming. How do you sleep at night?

I hope the grass will decompose aerobically, if it decomposes anaerobically the methane it gives off will be astronomical!

Len, I am a reasonable kinda guy, in fact I do usually mow my berm in the summer as it does grow faster than the frequency of your mowing cycle and I’m quite house-proud, but c’mon Len, don’t dictate to me to do something you used to do and don’t even inform me of my obligations and rights!

Is that the lefty liberal way?


George of Onehunga