By ROBYN BRISTOW
Hanmer Springs faces a worker crisis, as business booms.
Finding staff to help cope with demand, and then finding somewhere for them to live, is proving difficult, says Christine Hall, of CH Solutions.
Christine, who provides business support throughout North Canterbury, says the village is rocking, defying the effects of Covid-19, as visitors flock to the town for rest and recreation.
But with the increase in visitors to the alpine village, staffing has become a problem.
“Hanmer has a crisis. Workers have nowhere to stay. The village is booming, but it is very hard to get staff and even harder to find accommodation for the incoming workers.
“If you are looking to rent out a room over the summer, let me know,” she says.
Christine says vacancies have often been filled in the past by international travellers, such as backpackers. However, Covid-19 ended that.
With no unemployment in Hanmer Springs, according to the Ministry of Social Development, workers are short.
Filipinos whose partners are dairy workers are in a tenuous position, Christine says, unless the government extends work visas.
She notes that job vacancies are ramping up on Trade Me and Seek, but businesses are struggling to fill vacancies.
Hurunui District Council chief executive Hamish Dobbie says accommodation options tighten as the summer season approaches.
“It is difficult for any tourist town.”
He says there could be a collaborative solution if commercial organisations got together.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa general manager Graeme Abbot agrees business is growing in the town. He said it was hard to imagine in March, during lockdown, that businesses would bounce back so well.
“We had a very good school holidays (at the pools). It was up 19 percent on last year.”
But he believes the pinch to find staff and accommodation, is a little different from previous years.
“It is always hard,” he says. Some businesses arranged accommodation for staff and rented a few houses.
“We (the pools) are looking at that option ourselves. The main difference is that mid-week business has increased.
“It is still not like a weekend, but it has bounced back.”