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Queenstown cemetery
Queenstown cemetery. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Burying or interring loved ones' remains is about to get pricier in the Queenstown Lakes district, but they are likely to have a better headstone.

The district council has updated the handbook for its 10 operational cemeteries, raising plot and interment fees for the first time in seven years.

The handbook, which comes into effect on August 1, was adopted by the council's community and services committee on Thursday.

As well as higher cemetery fees for adults, the changes include making headstones and other monuments more "robust" and improving health and safety for sextons and contractors.

The public was consulted on the changes last year.

Community services general manager Thunes Cloete said the changes struck a "fair balance" between national benchmarks and the specific requirements of the district's communities.

The fee increases would "future-proof" a key community service.

Burial plots now cost between $1330 and $2100, depending on the cemetery, and ash plots range from $300 to $900.

The council had considered it important to keep fees for babies' and children's burials and ash interments unchanged, Dr Cloete said.

Those fees remained "well below nationally benchmarked levels".

In her report for the committee, assistant parks and reserves officer Jessica Thomson said the changes would ensure good-quality monuments and fewer non-complying headstones. "Bespoke" monuments and materials will no longer allowed.

From next month, headstones and other monuments can only be installed by members of the Master Monumental Masons Association, or those with a New Zealand certificate in stonemasonry (level 4).

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