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Coromandel businesses concerned about staff shortages through summer

Coromandel businesses concerned about staff shortages through summer
October 23, 2020

With New Zealand’s upcoming Labour Weekend marking the traditional start of the country’s peak tourism season, tourism and hospitality businesses in the Coromandel have expressed concern about finding experienced staff for this busy time.

As reported by Thames-Coromandel District Council’s Our Coromandel magazine, Alanna Kline, Chief Executive at thermal resort The Lost Spring, 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.

Having advertised extensively for staff, Kline 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.

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

Telling Our Coromandel that 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, Kline noted "if our kitchen doesn’t fire up, my restaurant can’t open.”

Kline 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 region.

Kline notes "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.

"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.

"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."

Kline feels that 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, she says she is very appreciative of the hard work put in by the thermal resort’s team of 31 full and part-time staff.

Kline feels that the lack of long-term rental accommodation options in the Coromandel is a major issue that prevents people applying for jobs, adding “it’s a catch-22 situation with the housing. We say come to the Coromandel to live and work, but where do people live?

"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% of New Zealand’s population and this should be a bumper season for us all.

"We just need to solve the staffing and housing problems."

To find out about opportunities for experienced staff at The Lost Spring email: pool@thelostspring.co.nz

Images: The Lost Spring (top and below) and Alanna Kline, the resort's Chief Executive (middle). Courtesy of The Lost Spring/Facebook.

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