Latest News & Public Notices

Summer tourism spending, economic forecast and businesses are thriving post-COVID - the latest Economic Development news

22 February 2021

Our busy summer period is winding down to an end, and while it was great to see locals and visitors making the most of the Coromandel, our local economy is still in a fragile position due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

In this economic update:

  • Latest economic analysis - how we’re faring post-summer and heading into 2021
  • December tourist spending data
  • Summer season – how events fared
  • Business profile - Whitianga Marina – berths are selling like crazy
  • Destination Coromandel – promotion and marketing opportunities
  • Matarangi residents' chance to connect to broadband
  • Fill in our Waikato Business Sentiment Survey
  • Mercury Bay Business Association updates
  • Council economic project updates – Kōpū marine servicing and business precinct and Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf Wharf upgrade
  • Thames Airfield hangars available for lease

Latest economic analysis - how we're faring post-summer and heading into 2021

“Massive monetary stimulus, a reasoned policy approach and a dose of good luck seems to have limited the economic fall-out of COVID-19,” says the latest Infometrics Forecasting report.

With the exception of a possible Trans-Tasman bubble, NZ’s borders are looking to remain closed until early-2022. However, the current economic position of New Zealand is enviable when compared to the ongoing battle with COVID-19 internationally.

The latest analysis from Infometrics shows the following statistics:

(Photo: Graph showing the decrease in the forecasted unemployment rate from April 2020 to February 2021. Source: Infometrics)

Labour market and employment

  • Data up to 22 January 2021 shows an increase in the number of people on Jobseeker Support, across the country, by about 10,000 since early November. However, half of this increase is a normal seasonal increase as more people, including tertiary students, become available for work during the summer.
  • The unemployment rate is expected to peak at 6.6 per cent in the March 2021 quarter, rather than the 8.8 per cent that was originally forecasted.
  • It’s expected that the unemployment rate continues to travel downwards and by the second half of 2023, it would have returned to ‘normal’.

(Photo: Graph showing the increase in forecasted house prices from April 2020. Source: Infometrics)

Increased demand for property and surge in house prices

  • The increase in demand for property and the surge in house prices has sustained demand for new housing.
  • The reintroduction of the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions by the Reserve Bank should take some of the heat out of the housing market throughout the rest of 2021.
  • It’s estimated that a record 8.5 per cent increase in house prices during the December 2020 quarter will drive annual house price inflation up to 15 per cent per annum, by the middle of 2021.

Official cash rate (OCR) and interest prices

It’s expected the OCR will be held at 0.25 per cent until late 2024.
Cost pressures within the labour market domestically will be no more than patchy, given medium-term GDP growth is sitting below 2 per cent per annum.
It’s also anticipated that further interest rate cuts are off the table.

Read more about the economy and how we’re tracking for 2021 here.

December Tourism Spending for the Coromandel

The high numbers of domestic tourists that came through the Coromandel this summer was a welcome financial injection to our tourism and hospitality providers.  Spending for the period was slightly down when compared with the same time last year.

The total January 2021 visitor numbers were 116,319. This figure is down compared to January 2020 which saw 123,081 visitors to the District.

The latest data from Marketview shows:

(Photo: Highlights of the December 2020 tourism spending. Source: Marketview)

  • Total spending for December 2020 was $35.55million, down 7.8 per cent from December 2019 where the spending was $38.54million
  • Domestic spending was $34.68million, up 10.7 per cent from the comparison period
  • International spending was $862,980 – down 10.7 per cent from the previous year. 

Summer season - how events fared

All of our annual galas took place with a record number of people in attendance.

Our reserves had many new events across them, which proved a hit with locals, including the Coromandel More FM Summer Events and Whitianga Night Markets. The majority of events were held from Coromandel Town through to Whangamatā as these are the more popular summer visitor destinations.

The Other Side festival at Joe’s Farm was a success and saw the following number of attendees:

  • 30 December – 9567 people
  • 31 December – 14,555 people

The Whitianga Summer Concert numbers were down with around 7500 people compared to the previous year which saw 16,000 attendees. Once again, it was a well-managed event, supported by our Council with the shuttle bus service. Feedback from the organisers and attendees has been very complimentary.

Coming up soon in Thames is the Food and Buskers FestivalBeach Hop in March, Steampunk in April, and Solarpunk in May. 

Kirstin Richmond, District Events Coordinator, is here to help event organisers through any processes where Council is involved. If you have any questions about events, email her at

You can find information about how to run an event in the Coromandel on our website.

You can find out more about events in the Coromandel on our website

Business Profile - Whitianga Marina - berths selling like crazy

It’s been a huge few months for the Whitianga Marina (pictured right) and with new berths and an even larger fuel facility to be built, they’re thriving post-COVID. 

Located right in Whitianga town, the Marina boasts easy access to visitor attractions, hotels, cafes and restaurants. 

“As a berthing destination, Whitianga is not often impacted by the international market who prefer to take their boats up north or to Auckland. But our summer was crazy,” says Dave Munday, manager at Whitianga Marina. “No one was travelling overseas so everyone came here on their boats.”

The Marina currently has 199 berths, ranging in size from 10 to 18 metres.

(Photo: the proposed plans for Whitianga Marina development)

Before lockdown, the Marina had plans to build a new wall, along with another 29 berths, ranging in size from 18-20 metres. Some of these 29 berths had to be pre-sold before the project could start. Expecting to sell just half of the berths, they were pleasantly surprised when they sold enough to cover the cost and get going. Development is planned to start mid-winter. 

A new fuel dock is also on the horizon, as the existing one was built in 1995, when the Marina was built. The new dock will have four 18m-long docks, where boats can fuel with petrol or diesel. The build for this is expected to begin in May and be ready for use by the end of August, with the ability to hold 80,000L of diesel and 30,000L of petrol. 

“It’s been my mission for about three years, since I started, to get petrol here, and now it’s on its way,” says Mr Munday.

The Marina has been waiting for these projects to kick off but COVID-19 delayed their plans. Once completed, it’s expected that the new berths along with the larger fuel docks will be an amazing and well-used facility.

Find out more about the Marina and purchasing a berth here

Destination Coromandel - latest promotion and marketing opportunities

(Photo: view over Hahei)

Destination Coromandel (DC) welcomed TVNZ Breakfast show host Hayley Sproull to our District as part of a new campaign, Backyard Break. While she was here, Hayley enjoyed some great experiences and did a live broadcast from Hahei Beach for Friday morning’s show.

If you missed seeing Hayley, and the Coromandel, on Breakfast Backyard Break, you can watch it here.

DC is also promoting marketing opportunities for local businesses and events:

  • DC is working with Tourism NZ on its next campaign “family travel," focusing on easy family experiences throughout NZ. It will be in market between Monday 1 March and Friday 30 April, targeting bookings for Easter and the April school holidays. Find out more about the campaign here

Find out more about DC on their website

Matarangi residents' chance to connect to broadband

Getting connected to some of the best broadband in the world is about to get a whole lot easier for Matarangi households and businesses.

On Wednesday 24 February, a team of Chorus experts will be on hand at Piper’s Cafe on Matarangi Drive to help residents who are yet to switch over to the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network.

The UFB network has been available in Matarangi since July last year and Chorus wants to help those that aren't yet connected, to do so, so they can experience the benefits fibre brings.

“Whether it's not being aware fibre is available, not knowing how to get connected or thinking it’s expensive to connect, we want to dispel any myths and provide good factual information so Matarangi households can jump on the fibre bandwagon,” says Andrew Carroll, General Manager, Customer and Network Operations.

Connected Journeys 

In 2018, our Council endorsed the TCDC Productivity Plan which outlines how we can partner with local organisations to catalyse positive changes in our community. 

The Plan is focused on high value opportunities, with five targeted work streams, one of which is Connected Journeys, which includes broadband in the Coromandel.

Read more about it here

Fill in the Waikato Business Sentiment Survey

During the COVID-19 lockdown last year, Te Waka, Waikato’s Regional Economic Development Agency, partnered with a number of organisations to understand the sentiment of Waikato businesses, assessing confidence and future plans.

We partnered with Te Waka in producing a six-monthly survey to track the Waikato’s progress in developing support programmes and services that our business community can utilise to thrive and grow. Six months on, we share the second version of this survey.

Take a few minutes and fill out the survey before Friday 12 March.

Take the survey now. 

Mercury Bay Business Association (MBBA) updates

MBBA Annual Golf Day 

MBBA’s annual golf day is fast approaching – get your teams ready. It’s being held on Sunday 7 March and will be $140 per team. Find out more here

Women in Business Evening

Are you looking for a great networking event to support and meet other women in business?

MBBA is getting behind the Women in Business Evening, an initiative to support women business owners in our District. The event will be held on Thursday 11 March. 

Find out more about the MBBA, and how to join on their website.  

Kōpū Marine Precinct update 

  • Kopu Marine Precinct feasibility report RH composerWe’ve been lucky to have a lot of interest from high quality contractors to our Request for Interest for the Kōpū Marine Project for both the landward civil works (roading and hardstand) and the marine construction contract (new boat ramp and wharf). We’ve also had some local contractors indicating they can provide materials and construction vehicles.
  • Our project team has assessed all the Requests for Interest with the intent to go out to tender in April to a short list of preferred contractors.
  • The tender process is running concurrently with our application for the fast track consent. We expect a decision on the fast track by mid-July.
  • Planned staging of construction begins in July, which starts with forming new roading at King St and the hardstand build. The marine work is planned to start at the end of September. Completion of the boat ramp is anticipated to be done by Christmas and the Wharf by May 2022. All things going well we hope to have everything completed by July 2022.
  • The staging of works allows a sufficient amount of time for contractors to have materials required to be able to build to the schedule, and factors in supply chain issues due to COVID.

You can find out more about the project here.

Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf Wharf project update

Following feedback from public open-days and targeted stakeholder meetings in November 2020, the project team needed to do further work on technical studies including additional noise and traffic data collection. There’s also been more work done on dredging requirements, stormwater analysis and cultural impact reports. All this information is to be reviewed by the relevant organisations including our Council, Waikato Regional Council (WRC), Department of Conservation (DOC) and iwi. This has meant that the plan to lodge resource consent applications by the end of 2020 has been pushed to March.

Read more about the project here.

Thames Airfield hangars available for lease

Click on the image for more info

Our Council is calling for expressions of interest from those in the aviation community who may be interested in leasing a space at Sir Keith Park Memorial Airfield in Thames to build aircraft hangars.

We want to gauge the level of interest ahead of a formal tendering process to begin in late March/early April 2021.

Development at the airfield will be staged, with the first lease sites available for hangars only.

The second stage will involve establishment of accommodation hangars and commercial activities. 

Register your interest

Send your expression of interest in leasing space for an aircraft hangar to Charmian Nell, by email via or call on 07 868 0200.

Find out more on our website