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Hedge campaign gets a trimming

Carterton District Council [CDC] has removed a cheeky campaign message from its Facebook page after a complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The campaign aimed to remind homeowners to trim hedges that were overgrowing onto footpaths but the complaint called it “misogynistic … distasteful, unprofessional. Just plain grubby humour”.

The council’s Facebook campaign featured a man wearing a suit standing among trees and bushes, and included the text “Trimmed ya bush lately?” and “If you have hedges overgrowing onto the footpath, please trim them back to the boundary.”

The caption for the post said, “It happens every year – someone lets their bush grooming get out of hand. You can’t walk past it without it tickling your leg and the postman has trouble reaching your box. Be a good neighbour, trim ya bush”.

After receiving the complaint, CDC removed the caption from the post and confirmed it will not be used in the future.

As a result, the complaint was settled without needing to go before the Complaints Board.

A CDC spokesperson said council business can be “just downright boring for most people so we try to colour outside the lines and have a bit of fun where we can”.

“Our campaigns are not everyone’s cup of tea, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone in Carterton that hasn’t heard about “play with ya hose from dusk till dawn”, “trim ya bush”, or our recent “sound like you? Stand for council” campaigns.

“We get a lot of national media coverage for our communication campaigns, and we know they get noticed by our community.”

The council has been using its “Trim ya bush” campaign since 2018 as a “fun and friendly way to remind residents of their responsibility to keep their hedges trimmed back to their boundaries”, a spokesperson said.

“A successful and engaging campaign such as this is an effective way to reduce complaints to council about overgrown hedges impeding footpaths, which frees up staff for core council business.”

A post from the campaign in December last year was well-received on Facebook, with 18 shares, 65 engagements, and comments from individuals and businesses joining in on the joke.

“This is the first complaint we have received about this campaign in five years. We fully intend to continue using the “Trim ya Bush” campaign image attached, minus the caption text, which was removed as per the complaint process.” – NZLDR

    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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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