Media Release 2 April 2015
Family First NZ is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve this special annual break to spend time with their families. They are also calling on the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE) to enforce the legislation rather than allow traders to deliberately flout the law.
“This is not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers, they don’t have the luxury of choice as to whether they work or not,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Public holidays are traditions. They create rituals for families, not based on shopping but on celebrating together, reconnecting, and making memories. Poll after poll has shown that both parents and children want to spend more time doing family things like picnics and holidays together. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as the retail industry is required to work almost every day of the year, and shoppers focus on the holiday specials.”
“Easter, Christmas and Anzac Day each remain as one of the few times when the whole country stops and takes a break.”
“Tourists will cope. Many countries have public holidays with shops closed, and tourists simply plan around it, accepting it as part of the local culture and identity. New Zealanders love visiting Pacific Island nations and still manage to enjoy themselves even when everything shuts down on a Sunday,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Towns do have every right to feel peeved that neighbouring towns can stay open when they can’t. The law needs to be consistent and fair. And it also needs to be strongly enforced – especially against renegade gardening centres.”
“To argue that shoppers are being driven to shop online is a flawed argument. If it was a valid argument, retailers in NZ would have to be open 24/7,” says Mr McCoskrie.
A Research NZ poll in 2010 found that almost two out of three New Zealanders oppose a change to the legislation to allow retailers to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
“The politicians should reject calls for liberalising the laws, and should continue to give the workers a break, just as they give themselves a break.”