Workers and Families Deserve Their Easter Break

Family First is calling on politicians to vote against the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Easter Trading) Amendment Bill of Labour MP Steve Chadwick, receiving its 2nd reading in Parliament today.

“Families throughout NZ take time out for family holidays, camps, reunions, Easter church events, cultural and recreational events over Easter weekends. Even politicians take a Parliamentary Recess during this period. Kiwis employed in the retail industry should also be able to enjoy the public holidays and extended weekend,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

In its submission to the Commerce Select Committee on this bill, Family First highlighted a number of surveys showing that families want, and need, more quantity time.

A recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) report showed that New Zealanders work longer than any other nationality, apart from the Japanese. 21% of New Zealand workers work more than 50 hours a week. Yet in most EU countries the number of people working 50 hours or more per work remains well under 10%. Just over 1% workers in the Netherlands work longer hours, while only 6% in Greece and Ireland do so.

Family First believes that public holidays including Easter, Labour Day, Christmas, New Year, Anzac Day and Queens Birthday help create rituals for families, not based on shopping but on celebrating together, reconnecting, and making memories.

“Supporters of this bill claim that tourism is a 365-day-a-year industry. Yet a holiday anywhere in the world means encountering when shops are not open. This includes a Friday in any Islamic country, Saturdays in Israel, many Sundays in part of the Netherlands; Sundays in Germany, Zimbabwe, and Pacific neighbours like Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, and limited shopping in large stores in the UK on Sundays,” says Mr McCoskrie.

And then there are the closures on religious and state holidays throughout the world. New Zealand is not out of step with the trading patterns of other countries.

For the sake of families and the well-being of our nation, keep the public holidays. 

We all need the break. 

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