Latest News & Public Notices

The current job and labour market –its impact on the Coromandel. This, and other economic news for our district.

03 May 2022

It’s a tight labour market out there. With inflation outstripping earnings by a significant amount, compounded by a tight job market due to low unemployment rates and migration – retaining and recruiting staff is a real challenge as people reassess their career options.

And like the rest of the country, the Coromandel is feeling the impact.

There’s a massive shortage of workers in our district’s hospitality, tourism and retail sector. Cafes, restaurants and bars are under pressure to find staff, and it’s no different with our Council, as we try to recruit and retain people in positions particularly in planning, engineering and IT. See our latest recruitments here.

In April there were more than 100 skilled and unskilled job vacancies around the Coromandel advertised on Seek  from a General Manager and Day Spa Manager positions at The Lost Spring resort in Whitianga, through to Managers of campgrounds at Omodeo Bay and Hahei.

Meanwhile, on another employment website  there were many other roles being recruited for, including positions in the aquaculture (mussel and oyster) industry.

“Our people and workforce are significant priorities for my Leadership Team and I, and our elected members,” says Rex Capil, our Council’s Acting Chief Executive. “We’re in a highly competitive market, along with other councils around the country, so we’re needing to find creative solutions to recruit and retain staff.”

 “We’ve had many cases of staff being enticed with large remuneration offers that we can’t compete with,” says Mr Capil. “It is not just the private sector, government departments are also strong competitors in the market, that we can’t match as a smaller, rural council.”  

“That’s why our People and Capability team are highly focused on talent acquisition, while internally we’re looking at innovative ways to retain staff, including wellbeing initiatives, alongside introducing Working from Home and Flexible Working Policies,” says Mr Capil.


Spending data for February and March

The latest data from Market View for visitor spending in our district for the month of February and March shows that in February:

  • We were 16.4 per cent down compared to the same time last year, which is obvious with the lack of international visitors and a general wariness to travel domestically due to Omicron variant being highly transmissible.
  • The retail and trade sector was up 2.5 per cent compared to the previous February, whereas spend on food and beverage, accommodation and arts and recreation was down. (Click on the table below to open a larger version)

  • Looking at the Coromandel against other regions around the country we were still one of the top 10 destinations for visitor spend but had a 13.7 per cent decrease to what was spend the previous February in our area. (Click the table below to open a larger version)

Meanwhile the statistics for March show:

  • Visitor spend was $19.86 million, which was 5.9 per cent down on the same time last year, which again reflects the impact of COVID
  • A small contribution from the international visitor market with $800,000 spend by overseas people in the Coromandel over this time, which we haven’t had for the past 18 months due to COVID.
  • We dropped out of the top 10 visitor spending markets for this month, which could be put down to people returning back to work after the January/February summer holiday break.

(Click the tables below to open larger versions)


Events back on the Coromandel calendar

Billy Idol at the 2020 Whitianga Summer Concert

(Billy Idol, above, at the Whitianga Summer Concert 2020)

Easter and ANZAC weekends saw events starting to happen again - and more event organisers are now starting to plan for the 2022/2023 event season.

October will see the start of the event season with the new date for the Whitianga Marathon, now taking place on 15 October, Steampunk the Thames – CircusPunk 10-13 November and Beach Hop 2022 23-27 November, with their Thames day out on the 24 November. 

A new date has been set for the Whitianga Summer Concert, which will now be held over Waitangi weekend – 5 February 2023.  An announcement on the line-up is expected soon.

If you are looking for a mid-winter event, the Whangamata Wild Womens’ weekend is on 13-15 May 2022, see their website for further details 

We are currently working with event organisers who are busy planning their events for summer, there are some new events on the horizon so it is looking like a busy event season for the whole of the District.

Our Council’s Major Event fund has been reduced from $50,000 to $35,000, which has been used for this financial year to support a resource consent for the Thames Racecourse, this has been successful with a three-year consent granted which will allow us to work with the Thames Jockey Club and look for large scale events for this site.


Tourism market to improve

Paddle boarders

Our Regional Tourism Agency Destination Coromandel is ramping up tourism marketing now that international borders are reopening and more optimism around travelling. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Tourism New Zealand has launched an Australian campaign launched nationwide for four months, with a later phase in May and June focusing on new experiences and driving ski arrivals.  While The Coromandel is not a ski destination, we are assured that all regions will feature, and we will leverage these opportunities.
  • DC has filmed some interviews with export-ready operators to provide a virtual visit to The Coromandel to feature in a webinar, which is a joint venture with Tourism NZ.   
    • DC has also partnered with Tourism New Zealand, NZME and Stuff to bring as much Coromandel content to the domestic market as possible through their channels. An Australian media agency in Australia is actively sourcing opportunities for us. The most recent domestic collaboration Stuff Go To Guide to The Coromandel  has launched digitally.
    • DC has secured government funding to partner with Hamilton Waikato Tourism to film an episode of Trail Towns for Australian TV. Filming took place on the Hauraki Rail Trail before Easter, featuring the trail towns of Thames, Paeroa, Waihi, Te Aroha and Matamata.
    • As part of DC’s alliance with the seven other regions in Explore Central North Island (ECNI), DC have registered for Tourism New Zealand Kiwilink events in US and UK (UK, Germany and select EU buyers) in late July and early August. While DC aren’t flying up to the events, one of their ECNI colleagues who visits often will be updated and present The Coromandel's trade-ready operators.
    • DC have collaborated with seven other central North Island partner regions for a virtual trade show where tourism businesses had the chance to schedule one on one appointments with the inbound travel trade and Tourism New Zealand staff.

DC are running two workshops in the coming weeks:

Sustainable Pricing workshop 

Determining the value, and then a price, for your service or product is not a decision you make just once, and it can be hard to know if you have got it right. Pricing impacts everything from your business finances to your positioning in the market, but sustainable pricing comes from carefully and consistently managing a number of elements.

We are delighted that our region has been selected for a pilot programme hosted by Qualmark and Destination Coromandel. Specialists from TRC Tourism will be running an in-person workshop in either Thames or Whitianga 10am-2pm Tuesday 17 May. 

You will be able to test your strategic thinking and understanding of value-based and other pricing models with a practical focus including:

  • developing your value proposition
  • competition
  • campaign pricing
  • packaging and partnering
  • channels and commissions
  • pricing periods

Digital Capability workshop to help tourism operators either learn how to boost or build booking platforms to get more revenue coming in. The focus of the workshop will cover things like strategic digital marketing, analytics, search engine optimisation, social media creation, measuring success and creating leads and converting bookings. The workshop is being held in Thames (in person not online) Monday 30 May 8.30am-5pm.

For either workshop if you want to participate register here (You do not have to be Qualmark accredited)

  • DC have  a number of specials, deals and packages listed on www.thecoromandel.com, but many of them are about to expire. If you have ongoing promotions, we suggest you update them through www.newzealand.com or contact our team and we'll extend the dates on our site. This is not about discounting prices that already represent value, but about standing out in the market with a unique offer, or a long-stay /off-peak incentive, for example.  If you would like some ideas, please don't hesitate to contact Megan.

Ariki Tahi Sugarloaf Wharf


(Ariki Tahi Sugarloaf Wharf, above)

An application to submit a resource consent application through the government’s fast track process, to upgrade Te Ariki Tahi Sugarloaf Wharf, has now been granted.

The next steps in that fast-track process is submitting the resource consent application to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The EPA will then review the application before recommending whether it then be considered by an independent expert panel, made up of RMA commissioners who will either approve or decline the consent.

The fast-track process takes several months. Read background on the project here.


Kōpū Marine and Business Precinct

Kopu marine area

(Kōpū, above, site of the planned marine facility)

The final costings from our contractors, alongside final project optimisation means the total cost of the project is now $15.3million which is a funding shortfall of $6.57million to complete the project.

A briefing note has been sent to the government’s regional economic development unit Kānoa with this update and we’re seeking input from government on options on how to fund the shortfall.

We’ve signposted there is no further money budgeted by our Council in our Long Term Plan or draft Annual Plan towards the project. Our Council has already committed $530,000 for the roading/civil works for King St, from our 2021-2031 Long Term Plan budgets.

Once the funding shortfall has been resolved, construction for the fully consented commercial wharf and recreational boat ramp can start in September/October 2022 and completed by March 2024.

You can read more on the project background here.

Reasons for the project cost escalations:

  • Increased supply chain demand and increasing price of materials. Since December 2020 and obtaining consent in March 2022, cost increases for a range of construction materials have escalated particularly for imported products. Further cost increases for some construction materials are expected this year. Our Council now faces escalating costs for infrastructure projects including up to a 10 per cent increase for bitumen products, up to 18 per cent on steel piping, up to 20 per cent on electrical cabling and components, and up to 20 per cent on costs for sub-contractors. Fluctuations due to inflation have the potential to put cashflow pressure on contractors who have undertaken long-term fixed price contracts. Consequently, our capital programmes for the current year and the 2022/23 year have also been revised, and several projects that weren't completed in the current year have been carried forward into our 2022/23 capital programme.
  • Delays in lodging consent to the fast-track process. The consent was lodged in August 2020. Included in that application was how we would address NES freshwater standards provisions. However, the decision was made to temporarily withdraw the application following discussion with staff from the Environmental Protection Agency. Professional fees for this alone, increased costs an extra $300,000.  (See project history section for details on this point).
  • Contingencies. In our latest budget, we have increased contingency from 10 to 20 per cent due to the uncertainty of costs in the current economic climate.

Thames Spatial Plan

This works involves planning for social and economic development of Thames and Surrounds, with better housing outcomes as the top priority.

The final draft of the Spatial Plan is being produced, which will be presented at Council’s June meeting for sign-off. It will then go out for further public engagement and feedback before coming back to Council later in the year to be endorsed.

Read more on the project background here.


Culinary workshop

Eric Pateman

Our Council is partnering with Auckland Unlimited to host international culinary strategist and development expert Eric Pateman  (above)for a one-day workshop on the Coromandel, “From the Ground Up.”

The day will involve establishing frameworks to:

  • ensure our region earns a prominent position in the global and domestic food and beverage sector
  • help develop innovation and value-added products
  • drive resilience and sustainability
  • Improve sector collaboration.

This is ongoing work as part of our Coromandel Food Collective Initiative to promote and support our food and beverage sector.

The full-day workshop is being held Monday 9 May. If you are interested in participating as you are involved in the food and beverage sector email Kirstin.richmond@tcdc.govt.nz as spaces are limited.


Waikato Business Sentiment Survey

TE Waka Biz Survey image

Our Regional Economic Development Agency Te Waka has just released its Business Sentiment Survey for the Waikato (which takes in our District).

Te Waka is focusing both on its own workplan alongside what it might need to do so support emerging and material business issues in the region.

Remaining agile is a priority as is a clear and slightly ruthless focus – all emerging trends in the current environment. But despite the negatives, there are also real opportunities emerging in the region which will support economic growth and wellbeing.

Read the survey results here.


Mercury Bay Business Association

Mercury Bay Business Association

A Business Resilience after COVID workshop is being run by the Mercury Bay Business Association for Tuesday 10 May. 

This workshop will provide five ways business owners can focus on the key numbers that improve profitability. Also, if a business is interested in hosting a BA5 networking event to showcase your business around Mercury Bay email mbba@whitianga.co.nz


Thames Business Association

Thames Biz Assoc

.Currently the TBA are investigating hosting the Business and Employment EXPO, that has been postponed twice, due to COVID. It is usually held in early August and has been reduced to a one-day expo.

The EXPO shows school leavers what training/apprenticeships and employment opportunities are available in our area, as we endeavour to keep them here and encourage them to become contributing members of our community. It also provides a venue where adults seeking work can meet with prospective employers. Please get in touch with the TBA's Chief Executive Sue Lewis O'Halloran before Friday 6 May (manager@thamesbusiness.co.nz) if you'd like to see the Expo proceed and are prepared to book a stall this year.


WINTEC looking to run Health and Well Being courses

Wintec

WINTEC is hosting. information sessions in Thames where you can come and find out more about the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) (Level 4) and the New Zealand Diploma in Enrolled Nursing (Level 5). 

This whanau friendly event, for all ages, is a great opportunity to speak to the team and have a look around campus. 

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) (Level 4)

  •  Tuesday 31 May 3pm to 4:30pm. Tuesday 14 June 3pm to 4:30pm. Tuesday 28 June 3pm to 4:30pm
  • Thames Regional Hub 414 Queen Street, Thames 

New Zealand Diploma in Enrolled Nursing (Level 5).

  • Tuesday 24 May 3pm to 4:30pm, Weds 15 June 3pm to 4:30pm, Thursday 23 June 3pm to 4:30pm      

Register your interest now to secure your place and to get reminders of the event: 

Health and Wellbeing 

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) (Level 4) with strands in Mental Health and Addiction Support, Social Services. This Fee Free one year, full-time programme has a July 2022 start. This programme provides students with the foundation knowledge, skills, and practical experience required to work alongside individuals, families and whānau accessing social and community services. 

New Zealand Diploma in Enrolled Nursing (Level 5)This 18 month full-time programme, starting in July 2022 is for those who want to work in clinical settings as an enrolled nurse and a valued member of the health team.