Min­is­ter en­cour­ages change

South Waikato News - - Conversations - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

The South Waikato was given the thumbs up by Na­tional MP Louise Up­ston as a prime lo­ca­tion to help solve a short­age in ac­com­mo­da­tion for tourists.

At a re­cent com­mu­nity fo­rum held in Toko­roa the Taupo MP said the district needed to se­ri­ously look at how to get a ‘‘slice of the pie’’.

‘‘You don’t need to think Toko­roa needs a four star ho­tel and who’s go­ing to come along and build it,’’ she said.

‘‘We need to think what is unique about our area and how do we de­sign ac­com­mo­da­tion that fits with that?’’

She used Cam­bridge as an ex­am­ple, say­ing most of the ac­com­mo­da­tion started with Bed and Break­fasts, Home­s­tays and Farm­stays.

‘‘Rather than try and de­vi­ate from what is fun­da­men­tal to the district how do you use that as an ad­van­tage?’’

Coun­cil­lor Her­man van Rooi­jen said he was in­ter­ested in how small com­mu­ni­ties could ben­e­fit from the short­age af­ter a pre­sen­ta­tion from Hamil­ton Waikato Tourism.

With tourism be­ing the big­gest ex­port earner Up­ston said there were op­por­tu­ni­ties for farm­ers.

‘‘This district is the most cen­trally lo­cated to mostly every­thing. You name it you can do it from this district as well as en­joy­ing the very nat­u­ral fa­cil­i­ties and river very few peo­ple know ex­ist.’’

She said lo­cals needed to ac­cept the ‘‘up’s and down’s’’ that came with the eco­nomic growth.

‘‘That may mean you as a lo­cal hav­ing to park a bit fur­ther away to do your shop­ping.

‘‘That’s a trade-off that a com­mu­nity needs to be in con­ver­sa­tion about as op­pose to the worst thing would be to let the op­por­tu­nity go by and find out the next district over had one a bet­ter job.’’

Up­ston said she wanted those in­volved in a Bay of Plenty Growth Study, a cen­tral and lo­cal govern­ment ini­tia­tive, to come down from Auck­land to the South Waikato.

She said the pop­u­lar­ity of the Te Wai­hou Blue Spring was a ‘‘good prob­lem’’ to have.

‘‘It has to be a com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion around do we keep this a cer­tain way or do we man­age for growth. It does cre­ate a chal­lenge.’’

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