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Carterton best of bunch

An image from Carterton District Council’s quirky engagement campaign of the voting bin at Carterton’s New World. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

25 per cent turnout region’s best

Carterton is small, but its voters are proving mightier than other Wairarapa districts.

As at September 30, 24.35 per cent of the eligible population in Carterton had returned their votes to the electoral officer.

This is slightly ahead of turnout at the same time in the 2019 elections [24.17 per cent], and only marginally lower than in previous elections [about 26 per cent], bucking a nationwide trend of declining voter turnout.

Carterton District Council communications and engagement manager Elisa Brown said the council had gone “a little bit outside the box” with this year’s elections advertising campaign, “which people either love or hate”.

“But regardless, it has the community talking about the election and that’s a sign of a successful campaign.”

The council made headlines earlier this year for its quirky elections campaign which featured a series of tagline including: “I’m sick of us being called Farterton” – Sound like you? Stand for council.

Brown said the council ranked seventh highest in New Zealand for voter turnout in 2019, with 58.45 per cent, far above the national average of 42 per cent.

“We knew that this year would be hard as many people have become disengaged with local government for a variety of reasons, including increased Central Government Reforms and post-lockdown fatigue.

“In saying that, we still have a very passionate and engaged community here in Carterton and we’re pleased with how the voter turnout is tracking so far.”

She said the council wanted to make it “as easy as possible to vote” and had placed five large orange voting bins around town.

Their locations are Mobil [High St North], Carterton New World, g.a.s station [High St South], the council office and the Carterton Events Centre.”

“It’s important people get out and vote, because you’ll be stuck for the next three years with whoever gets elected, and they are the people who decide which projects are funded by your rates.”

Meanwhile, in Masterton, 19.78 per cent of the eligible population has voted, compared with 24.75 per cent at the same time in 2019.

In South Wairarapa, voting turnout sits at 23.61 per cent.

Of all the wards in the South Wairarapa district, Martinborough has the highest turnout [24.91 per cent].

In Greytown, turnout is 22.76 per cent, and in Featherston, the turnout is 23.1 per cent.

Yesterday was the recommended last date for mailing votes in order to be received by Saturday’s noon deadline.

Special efforts are under way in Masterton to collect rural votes, with a mobile ballot box hitting the road on Friday.

As happened during the 2019 elections, a ballot box will visit coastal communities in Masterton on Friday.

The box will be in Tinui [outside the Cabbage Tree Eatery] at 10-10.30am; Riversdale [outside the Riversdale Beach Store] at 11am-noon; and Castlepoint [outside the Castlepoint Store] at 12.30-1.30pm.

Until close of business on Friday, completed voting papers for Masterton can be dropped at Masterton District Council’s offices, the library, or Masterton’s Mitre 10 MEGA.

The council’s Waiata House office will be open for vote drop-offs and special votes until noon on Saturday, October 8.

People who have not received voting papers can make a special vote by calling into the council’s offices at Waiata House.

In the south, people can drop their votes to the South Wairarapa District Council office in Martinborough, or any South Wairarapa library. – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Attendance record poor

Carterton District Council’s draft annual report for the year ending June 30, 2022, shows a poor attendance record for an elected member.

Councillor Russell Keys, who is not seeking re-election, attended two of 11 council committee meetings, and six of nine full council meetings last financial year. This brings his total attendance record to 40 per cent. Keys was contacted for comment but did not respond.

Meanwhile, most Carterton councillors had unblemished 100 per cent attendance records, including Robyn Cherry-Campbell, Steve Cretney, Brian Deller, Dale Williams, and Rob Stockley [resigned December 2021]. Mayor Greg Lang attended all but one committee meeting, as did councillor Jill Greathead. Deputy Mayor Rebecca Vergunst attended all but two meetings.– NZLDR

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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