We appreciated this freebie as our mower was knackered and I had to use a hand-mower for the back and sides of the property.
We also used to have regular street cleaners (that all stopped a while ago too) and the council used to spray the weeds on the gutter-edge as well.
None of that is now done, but there are still areas of the Super City where their priveleges have not been taken away - mainly where Len Brown's target audience live...
In my opinion, it's no biggie to mow your own berm, but I do see the OP's point, when it comes to apartment blocks and commercial property.
When I used to mow my lawn myself (before I "employed" my father in law to do it - he owns a lawn business), I used to mow my berm, my neighbour's berm and the berm in front of the public reserve next to my home.
Never really thought about it...just assumed it was a nice and proper thing to do.