The Law Commission is seeking the public’s views on a package of reforms which could lead to far-reaching changes in the options available to bereaved New Zealanders.

Among the major reforms for public debate are proposals to open the cemetery sector up to alternative providers, including those wishing to establish eco or natural burial sites, and allowing for New Zealanders to be buried on private land such as a family farm.

The Law Commission is also asking for public feedback on whether there is a case for stronger controls and accountabilities for the cremation and funeral sectors. Apart from a number of small amendments, the Burial and Cremation Act has remained substantially unchanged since it was enacted in 1964. Many of the Act’s provisions have not been materially altered since New Zealand’s foundational burial law, the Cemeteries Act, was passed in 1882.

Submissions can be made online at www.lawcom.govt.nz or via email to burials@lawcom.govt.nz. Submissions close on 20 December 2013