The National Agricultural Fieldays have come along way from its start in 1969 with a budget of $10,500 and 15,000 people attending.
Fieldays, billed as the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere, has concluded after 900 exhibitors showed their wares to 120,000 visitors over four days. . .
The weather on Wednesday and Thrusday might have put some visitors off going but reports say sales were good and the economic impact spreads much wider than the site.
Accommodation in and around Hamilton was booked out months in advance.
We only made the decision to go last Tuesday and ended up staying in Auckland.
We can’t have been the only ones. When we returned the rental car with an apology for the dirt, the man receiving it laughed and said it was just one of many that showed signs of a visit to the Fieldays.
The mood among farmers and exhibitors was buoyant – and the response at this stand was very positive:
These four MPs, Scott Simpson, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Louise Upston and Todd McLay, and volunteers were very busy.
Labour has given up on farming, and as a consequence of that, the provinces. Farmers, the people who work for, service and supply them are seriously worried about the negative impacts a change of government will bring.
Organising an event as big as the Fieldays is a a major undertaking.
From the efficiency and friendliness of the ticket sellers at the entrance, the layout, range of exhibitors, quality and variety of food for sale, to the cleanliness of the loos – which is no small task with all those exhibitors and visitors – I have nothing but praise.
But I do have a major complaint about the traffic management.
We left Auckland at 6:30 on Friday morning. We got to a queue of vehicles 9 kilometres from the site at 8:30 and finally got to the car park at 11:40.
A couple of hours into the stop-start crawl I began to worry that I’d need a loo before we got there.
Eventually I started walking and came across a police officer at a round-about. He directed me to Regal Haulage a few hundred metres up the road where the receptionist greeted my plea for help with a smile and took me to their loo.
She turned down my offer to pay but I left a note anyway, telling her to shout herself a treat or give it to charity – it was worth every cent.
Our previous visit to the Fieldays was six years ago. We’d hit a long queue to the entrance on the Friday then too but put that down to leaving Auckland too late which is why we left so early.
But the problem wasn’t timing it was traffic management which requires a serious re-think.
If it’s not practical to close the road past the site to traffic going in the opposite direction they need to use cones to make two lanes going there in the morning and away in the afternoon and they need more entrances.
An alternative or addition to that would be to create parks some distance from the site and provide buses from there.
We’ll go back to the Fieldays in a few years but unless we can be sure of better traffic management we’re very unlikely to go back on a Friday.