Carterton mayor John Booth tests his bag-packing skills at Carterton New World. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

EMILY IRELAND
emily.ireland@age.co.nz

“Mr Mayor, please don’t squish the bread.”

Carterton Mayor John Booth dabbled in grocery bagging on Sunday with his fellow councillors, in a bid to encourage feedback from residents on the district’s Ten Year Plan.

But some of the feedback wasn’t entirely positive – not on the plan, but rather his technique as one of the supermarket’s newest bagging recruits.

Turns out, it’s not a good idea to put bread at the bottom of the bag.

“And my wife has already given me the heads-up not to put the smellies [laundry detergents] in with the food,” Mr Booth said.

All joking aside, the council’s new consultation technique seems to be paying off, with residents from all walks of life joining in the conversation around the district’s long-term plan.

Most people’s eyes glaze over when they hear mention of the dreaded words “long-term plan”, Mr Booth said, so this year, the council had a bit of fun with the consultation process.

“We just wanted to up our game,” he said.

“It’s about being more proactive with our consultation in our community.”

The New World event on Sunday was one of several casual consultation drives the council has undertaken this year, including visits to the Carterton railway station, Clareville Bakery, and the Royal Oak Tavern.

“The Royal Oak was an interesting experience,” Mr Booth said.

“There was a group of farmers, a group of loggers, and a group of other locals.

“The questions were pretty intense at times – a lot of our urban ratepayers are facing quite a large rate increase, and they wanted a further explanation.

“An interesting comment from one or two people was, ‘can you stop Carterton from growing so fast because it means we all have to pay for the infrastructure’.”

Mr Booth said people were asking some really good questions, “which is the point of all this”.

“For Carterton, in the next 10 years, we are really sticking to our knitting,” Mr Booth said.

“We’re not doing anything fancy.

“Affordability is really critical in this community – so it’s all about key infrastructure, replacements, upgrades, sticking to those main areas.”

Carterton District Council’s public consultation on the Ten Year Plan closes on May 23, with public hearings and deliberations scheduled for May 31 to June 1.

The council will finalise the Ten Year Plan on June 20, and adopt it on June 27.