Mary: inorganic policy is rubbish

By Jim Birchall

Buckland’s beach local, 79-year-old Mary Wilton is fed up with Auckland Council’s inorganic collection policy.

The current system, allows for a ratepayer to have one annual pickup of inorganic items. After booking an appointment two months in advance, Mary was disappointed to see her refuse had been rejected by collectors and a card left by pick-up contractors detailing what items were not accepted.

Mary believes the list of prohibited items is too restrictive and expects more from council, particularly when coupled with “regular rate rises”.

Mayor Phil Goff recently announced of an average general rates increase of 2.5 per cent for the 2019/20 financial year. Defeated Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere vowed to bring back collections on a two week cycle if he had been elected.

Mary Wilton thinks council should be doing more with inorganic collections. Photo Times

Council stipulates a property with goods for collection must be accessible to the contractors and refuse must not be left on the road under any circumstances. Mary points out that this is impracticable as many homeowners have pets and children that need to be secured in by a locked gate.

As a result, many Bucklands Beach residents have taken to leaving their unwanted items out on berms and areas outside their properties creating an unsightly environment. The collection rules were changed in 2015 in response to council concerns over safety.

However Mary believes the old system wasn’t broke and says “at least it all got picked up” when a foraging free-for-all saw some people comb the suburbs for goods fit for repurpose. ‘

Auckland Council’s website has all the guidelines. Here’s a snapshot:

Book your inorganic collection

If you have inorganic items you would like us to remove, you need to let us know by booking a collection.

How inorganic collections work

Every area of Auckland is allocated a week each year for an inorganic collection.

There is no charge to book an inorganic collection. One collection of up to one cubic metre of inorganic material per year is included in your property rates.

For details on the accepted items see, what you can and cannot put out for inorganic collection.

How to find out when your collection week is

Flyers will be delivered to mail boxes in your area several weeks before your area’s assigned collection week.

From mid-January you can enter your address into the online booking tool to find out your collection week. However, if your allocated week has already passed for the year, this information will not show.

You can use our online booking tool to find out your collection week, without actually making a booking.

When you can book an inorganic collection

You can book your collection anytime from mid-January to eight days before your scheduled collection week.

If you do not book a collection during this time period, you will need to find alternative ways to disposing of your items.

What do you think? Email


  1. Hi Jim,
    I sympathize with Mary and anyone else that has dealings with this Council. I am sorry Tamihere didn’t get in because someone, somewhere has to grab them by the scruff of the neck and give them a good shake.

    My story:- I am secretary of Howick East Combined Probus Club, with over 140 retired members from the Howick area. The club has been hiring The Nixon Park Community Hall for over 20 years, in recent years we have made many complaints about the condition and the administration of hiring this Community Hall. Early this year we sat with representatives of the Hall Hire Team and explained our problems, and were assured all will be fixed.
    In July on our monthly arrival at the hall with +/- 100 members the place was dirty, and one of our committee members had to clean the ladies’ toilets.
    Enough was enough, we moved out and in September moved to the Howick Bowling Club, where several other hirees of Nixon Park Hall have gone before us, for similar reasons.
    Having broken our forward hire bookings the Council penalized us $140 as we were in breach of their Terms and Conditions for hiring the hall. No real apology for them not maintaining the hall in a condition “fit for purpose”.
    We paid the penalty in full on-line early September, at the end of September we received a reminder, to which I responded by phone and email saying when it was paid. We received an auto-response that they would respond within 10 days. A little after 10 days I received a demand email from them threatening debt collection etc. When I responded by phone I did suggest that they were somewhat incompetent to which I “told off” for being rude to the Council as it was a big organisation and all big organisations have such problems! I did supply, by email, all the details of payment again. (again auto-response they would reply within 10 days).
    Twenty days after my first email we received a response apologising for not replying to the first email inside the 10 days.
    Really, these guys are in complete disarray and if this is the way they handle other accounts then they should not be allowed to handle the public’s money and administration. Smacks of shear incompetence to me.

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