Mayor urges tourist farmstays
‘‘Spring, early summer would not be an appropriate time to start a farm stay I suggest.’’
A high-end accommodation shortage in the Waikato could be the gift struggling farmers are looking for with Matamata-Piako Mayor Jan Barnes suggesting they open farm stays to make some extra cash.
She encouraged farmers to look into starting a Bed and Breakfast or farm stay.
‘‘Have a look at your operation,’’ she said.
‘‘When things get tough look outside the square.’’
Although Stew Wadey, who is the chairman of the Matamata District Federated Farmers, thought Barnes’ idea a ‘‘worthy’’ one, he said the logistics of balancing a farm, family, and discerning tourists’ desires may be harder than Barnes thought.
He said some locals’ herds were not far from calving for the 2016/17 year.
‘‘That entails a lot of input time to such a busy time therefore spring, early summer would not be an appropriate time to start a farm stay I suggest,’’ he said.
He acknowledged that a couple with a ‘‘matured family’’ would be able to consider it. He also said a lot of overseas guests were quite discerning as to the level of luxury being provided so it might not be a good fit.
‘‘That is including the cuisine which is the roast lamb or beef, wine and the works.’’
He also worried there could be a bit of red-tape with IRD and health and safety requirements.
Joy Diprose, who runs de Preaux Lodge, said it was not really a sure fire way for farmers to make that extra money.
‘‘It is a lot of hard work and as most farmers’ wives are often out on the farm helping it would be a huge job for them as it involves a lot of housekeeping, cooking and everything else that goes along with having strangers in your home,’’ she said. ‘‘So unless they were going into it on a very large scale it would not be a very large income.’’
Matamata iSITE manager Sue Whiting said while there was pressure on accommodation it was only really for two to three weeks over Christmas, which was the same all over the country at the time of year.
She said the iSITE was getting more and more offers of farm stays and that most of those are listed on the iSITE’s website.