Latest News & Public Notices

Staff shortages a concern for Coromandel summer

16 October 2020

With Labour Weekend looming next week, we’re on the edge of the rapid slide into the busy summer season – set to be a bumper for the Coromandel this year.

(Photo - The Lost Spring in Whitianga)

However, local tourism and hospitality businesses are growing concerned about finding experienced staff to see them through.

We catch up with The Lost Spring chief executive Alanna Kline about the challenges they're facing on the staffing front and in finding service people locally.  More on this later in this newsletter

At Council, we also mark this time of year with the launch of our annual magazine Our Coromandel - posted directly to the more than 50 per cent of our ratepayers that live outside our district, as it’s a prime way we can engage them on Council projects and local events. Residents can collect a copy from council offices, libraries or visitor information centres.

Also in this Economic Development Update:

Read on for information on:

  • Marketview spending data for September
  • Economic intelligence - Waikato region
  • Free business advisor drop-in sessions 
  • COVID-19 business support funding
  • Responsible Camping Fund assistance
  • Where Kiwis Holiday - Coromandel's summer marketing campaign
  • Events update
  • i-SITE and Visitor Information Centre hours

**Sign up for our ED Update Newsletter**

If you have been forwarded this newsletter, and you'd like to be on our mailing list to receive future updates direct to your inbox, you can sign up here and make sure you check the box for 'economic development'.

New edition of Our Coromandel lands - get your copy now

We're excited to share a new edition of our Council’s annual magazine ‘Our Coromandel’ – uniting all of us with hearts and homes in the Coromandel.

"Amidst the challenges of a global pandemic, this year’s publication is themed around ways to ‘back your backyard ’ and enjoy local tourism here in the Coromandel while supporting our local businesses," says our Mayor Sandra Goudie.

Targeted generally at our non-permanent ratepayers (which is around 50 per cent of you), the purpose of the annual publication is to let you know what we've been working on as a council, where your money is being spent, as well as promoting what local businesses and community groups are doing.

Our Coromandel 2020-2021 is now arriving in the mailboxes of our out-of-district ratepayers, while our residents can pick up a copy from one of our four Council service centres, district libraries or visitor information centres – and we encourage them to be quick as these get snapped up fast. The magazine is also online at

This year, we celebrate our neighbouring districts of Hauraki and Matamata-Piako, which have much to offer our ratepayers looking for new experiences right here on our doorstep. Our three districts are united by the marvellous Hauraki Rail Trail -  one of the easiest and most scenic ‘great rides’ of New Zealand, which has soared in popularity this year as people are more eager than ever to get out and ride. And there’s much more to discover ‘off the rails’ too, weaving through the towns of Miranda, Waihi, Paeroa, Te Aroha and Matamata. Remember to back their backyards too when you visit and if you are looking for new experiences close by. 

Features in this edition also include the magical islands off our coast, our thriving market garden movement and we explore how the Coromandel is casting itself a leading role within New Zealand's growing film industry. 

The regular, centre piece events guide is all you need to know about what’s coming up on the events calendar across our district. 

Inside, you’ll hear from our Mayor Sandra Goudie and elected members, and find out about the projects that we’ve been working on in your neighbourhood over the last year. Also learn more about how we're looking to manage our water supplies ahead of a potentially dry summer. You can read these features online at

We welcome your feedback and thoughts on this edition, and ideas for our 2018-2019 publication. If you want to get in touch, please email us at

Click here to see the 2020/2021 edition.

Tell us what you think and be in to win a $500 petrol voucher

We welcome your views about Our Coromandel magazine and all the ways we get news out to our ratepayers and communities. Tell us how you think we are doing through our short online survey with a chance to win a $500 petrol voucher.    


The Lost Spring on the hunt for experienced staff

One of our major tourism operators is among businesses struggling to find experienced staff in our district.

The Lost Spring chief executive Alanna Kline (pictured above) says she's in urgent need of qualified staff to fill roles immediately at the thermal resort in Whitianga, and will need more staff as the Christmas/New Year season approaches.

Alanna's been advertising for close to a month, and says the staffing gaps are a significant hurdle to the resort extending its opening hours beyond the current four days it's offered post-COVID.

“It’s incredible that at this time we have a township so short of hospitality staff, and services as well,” Alanna says.

Finding a local gas fitter to fix an oven in the commercial kitchen has proven almost impossible, and she's been looking further afield as far as Tairua because she can’t get anyone locally in Whitianga in time.

“If our kitchen doesn’t fire up, my restaurant can’t open,” she says. “It’s getting critical now.”

Alanna is aware of other local businesses on-the-hunt for qualified chefs and experienced front-of-house staff too. Feedback from recruitment agencies confirms the problem of staff shortages is widespread across the Waikato.

“I’m concerned for our region and my own business over the months ahead. Post-COVID has been very busy, but how we service this new demand over summer is becoming a concern," Alanna says.

“As providers of hospitality and other services, we as a community have been working hard on our businesses and it’s distressing to now be in this situation," she says. "Out-of-towners arrive with high expectations of our businesses, and we can’t say we don’t have enough staff as an excuse for not operating at full capacity."

The pinch time for the business will be the next few months before university students break for summer and enter the job market, she says.

In the meantime, Alanna says she is very appreciative of the hard work put in by the awesome team of 31 full and part-time staff she has currently at The Lost Spring.

The lack of long-term rental accommodation options in the Coromandel is a major issue that prevents people applying for jobs.

“It’s a catch-22 situation with the housing. We say come to the Coromandel to live and work, but where do people live?" she says. 

“The Coromandel is in a great position with a great product and I'm excited for the season ahead. We are within a three-hour drive from 50 per cent of New Zealand’s population and this should be a bumper season for us all," she says. “We just need to solve the staffing and housing problems.”

If you want to talk to Alanna about opportunities for experienced staff, contact

Useful connections for employers looking for staff

Ministry of Social Development (MSD) invites employers to get in touch
MSD is inviting employers to get in touch about opportunities to employ staff and support packages and training.

Please contact Liz Sydney at

Some of the support programmes are available at this link.

MSD has a team monitoring the inbox below that can work in the employment space so will be able to support with staff.

FutureForce® Job Board
Each year in Waikato approximately 5,800 students leave high school and hundreds more complete their tertiary study. 

Any businesses expecting to have entry level jobs, cadetships, apprenticeships, traineeships available over the summer holidays or next year should be thinking about targeting these young people now before they leave their educational institutions for end of year exams.

Smart Waikato’s FutureForce® Job Board is free for Waikato employers to promote workplace opportunities directly to job-seekers and students through Waikato-based work brokers, school careers advisors and educators (secondary and tertiary).  List a job here:

Waikato:  Waikato Nxtstep is a free job-matching website for the Waikato region to support business owners and employees through COVID-19. Check it out here:

He Waka Eke Noa is a link between buyers and employment.


Visitor spending rises 40 per cent in September

VIsitors spent $18.62 million across Thames-Coromandel last month, up 40 per cent on the same time (September) last year ($13.29M) - as measured by Marketview.

Retailers were the largest recipients of the September spending, capturing 72 per cent or $13.48 million of that amount. Food and beverage received 17.4 per cent of the spending and seven per cent went towards accommodation.

Just under 98 per cent of the spending was attributed to domestic visitors, up 5.7 per cent on the same month last year.

Here’s how the spending was broken down among our major towns:

  • Coromandel and Colville - $1.26 million – up 36.5 per cent
  • Northern Mercury Bay (Kuaotunu to Whangapoua) - $550.55 thousand – up 161.6 per cent
  • Pauanui - $1.08 million – up 81.2 per cent
  • Southern Mercury Bay  (Ferry Landing to Whenuakite) - $774.29 thousand – up 40.70 per cent
  • Tairua - $1.05 million – up 50.70 per cent
  • Thames - $3.59 million – up 19.4 per cent
  • Whangamata - $4.06 million – up 57.7 per cent
  • Whitianga - $5.15 million – up 37.6 per cent

Economic intelligence - Waikato region

Te Waka, our regional economic development agency for Waikato, publishes a range of economic reports which highlight the key indicators and trends of the Waikato economy. You'll find these online at

Waikato Economic Radar

As we reach the close of the third quarter of 2020, the latest statistics on the New Zealand economy give us a picture of the depth of the recession in the first half of the year, with the domestic economy contracting 12.2 per cent in the June quarter. GDP is the topic of the month, and while the contracting economy is no surprise with the strict lockdown measures, New Zealand’s performance is perhaps a little better than expected when compared with The Treasury’s Budget forecasts back in May. The September Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update expects GDP to rebound in the next quarter.

Read the radar for 2 October 2020 here

Business sentiment survey

The survey of 589 Waikato business owners and managers has found that while overall economic sentiment is pessimistic, businesses are more optimistic about Waikato and sector performance than they are about the New Zealand economy as a whole.
This optimism is demonstrated by businesses signalling they are actively recruiting new staff, despite an environment of skill shortages and overall sales sitting below 2019 levels.  Businesses’ lack of planning for future scenarios, however, is of concern.

View survey results for Thames-Coromandel here

Q3 Economic Report

Casting our minds back a few decades to the first quarter of 1991, New Zealand saw a fall in economic activity (at least, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP)), of 2.4 per cent. From peak to trough of that recession, the economy shrank by 3.1 per cent. That was the largest such fall we have seen since quarterly GDP statistics have been published. Until now.

View the Q3 Economic Report from Te Waka Economic Advisor Blair Keenan here


Free business advisor sessions available

Free business advisor drop-in sessions are held regularly in Thames, Whitianga, Whangamata and Coromandel Town.

Te Waka, in partnership with our Council, organises for business advisors to visit our district for these free, one-on-one sessions. The advisors take a birds-eye look at your whole business then help you connect with the right resources and experts so you can build capability and thrive.

Advisors can offer assistance in cashflow management and finance, human resources, health and wellness and business continuity planning and any other areas of need. They will refer business owners to helpful resources including where to go for government assistance.

Upcoming sessions. 

  • Thames: (Monthly) First Tuesday afternoon of the month. Next session: 3 November from 12pm to 4pm at our Council’s service centre at 515 Mackay St Thames.
  • Whitianga: (Monthly) Second Wednesday morning of the month with the next session on Wednesday, 11 November from 10am to 12pm at our Council’s service centre at 10 Monk St, Whitianga
  • Whangamata: (Monthly) Second Wednesday afternoon of the month with the next session on Wednesday, 11 November from from 2:30pm - 4:30pm at our Council’s service centre at 620 Port Rd, Whangamata
  • Coromandel Town: (Monthly) on the second Tuesday of the month with the next session on Tuesday 10 November from 12pm-5pm at our Council's service centre at 355 Kapanga Rd, Coromandel Town (time TBC).

In the meantime, the advisory service is still offered online via ZOOM.  To secure a slot, visit or call 07 857 0538 or email

COVID-19 fund

Since the March lockdown, Te Waka has helped over 1,800 businesses access the Government COVID-19 fund.

There's still funding available for businesses for help with human resources, employee relations, business continuity planning, finance and cashflow management, marketing and digital enablement. Get in touch by emailing

Find out more about COVID-19 business support funding here

Funding comes our way for responsible camping initiatives

We’ve been fortunate to receive $656,566 from the government’s Responsible Camping Fund to help us manage what is anticipated to be a very busy 2020/2021 peak summer period.

The funds will pay for:
• increased servicing at 60 different toilet facilities across the region
• an ambassador programme
• education and information for campers signage

“The indications we’re getting for the summer are that we could have a 30 per cent increase in our domestic visitors to the Coromandel, so this additional service is going to be really important,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “And even better, it’s at no cost to our ratepayers.”

To read the full list of councils that received funding click here.

Last year, our Council received a similar amount from the same fund for these activities.

“We demonstrated last year the huge value all of this support had towards positive visitor behaviour, and effective management of tourism has put us in good stead to receive significant funding for this year too,” Mayor Sandra says.

“We’re extremely grateful to the government for acknowledging this – and the fact that the Coromandel is one of the most popular areas in the country that people want to visit over this time of year.”

Where Kiwis Holiday - summer marketing campaign

The exciting new 'Where Kiwis Holiday' summer campaign from Destination Coromandel has kicked off with billboards in Auckland and digital activity.

It's the first summer campaign for the Coromandel and will remind visitors what they love about summers here, which is why it's a no-brainer to make plans for this summer, and aims to whet their appetite with activities they may not even know about.

The campaign will run from to the end of February in several phases of activity.

Find out more in the media release from Destination Coromandel here.

Destination Coromandel recommends that businesses work together to create packages and profile these on where it's free to list.

STAPP funding
Destination Coromandel recently received one-off funding of $700,000 as part of the Government’s COVID-19 Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP).

The investment plan for the 2020/2021 year includes activities across three categories:
1.     Destination Management and Planning
2.     Industry Capacity Building and Product Development
3.     Domestic Marketing

Planning consultation is underway and project briefs are being drafted.

Stay up-to-date with our events calendar

We have an events page on our Council website, updated with what's coming up (along with recent postponements or cancellations) here.

Sign up to our weekly events newsletter to stay informed on the calendar of events in our district. 

Tickets on sale now for the Whitianga Summer Concert

This week the Whitianga Summer Concert in January  announced its line-up: Gin Wigmore, The Angels, Dragon, Pseudo Echo and Mi-Sex.

  • Vodafone New Zealand customers go to for more info
  • Greenstone Concert Club member advanced ticket sales go through to 7am Monday 19 October.
  • Local tickets will be on sale now 
  • General sale tickets from 7am Monday 19 October.
  • For any further ticketing information see the Greenstone Entertainment website.

New venue for Whitianga summer concert from 2022

From 2022 the Whitianga summer concert will be held on a new venue – on a section of council reserve known as the Sherriff Block.

The new concert venue sees Greenstone Entertainment being able to commit to another 10 years of bringing international performers to the Coromandel.

"We are pleased that the Summer Concert will remain in Whitianga. The new venue on the Council land at the Sheriff block gives security for the summer concert into the future which is exciting for local businesses and concert goers," says Mercury Bay Community Board chairperson Rekha Giri-Percival.

The Sherriff Block is a 28ha block of public land on the outskirts of Whitianga. A concert venue is one activity that the area is being used for. Our Council is currently developing a concept plan for the entire site, taking into consideration all the expressions of interest for the use of it. Once an overall concept plan is completed, this will be shared with our communities.

i-SITES and visitor information centres

All our visitor centres are open, with the following hours:

Thames i-SITE:  Monday to Friday 9:30am – 3pm. Saturday and Sunday– closed.

Whitianga i-SITE: Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 4pm. Sunday – closed.

Coromandel Town Visitor Centre: 7 days a week, 10am-3:00pm.

Tairua Information Centre:  Monday-Friday 9:30am - 4pm. Saturday 10am-1pm. Sunday – closed.

Pauanui Information Centre: Monday – Saturday 9:30am-4pm. Sunday – 10am-4pm.

Whangamata Information Centre:  Monday – closed. Tuesday – Sunday 9am – 2pm.

For more information on our visitor centres and on visiting the Coromandel, go to the website of Destination Coromandel, our regional tourism marketing organisation.