MPs Told To Reject Easter Trading Proposal

Media Release 3 March 2016
Family First NZ has told politicians that the proposed changes to Easter trading laws will do nothing to solve the perceived problems, will be a ‘hospital pass’ to local councils, that the National party should allow a conscience vote on the issue, and that families deserve a break – just as politicians do.

National Director Bob McCoskrie has made an oral submission to the Commerce Committee on the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill.

“We reject any liberalisation of Easter trading laws because workers deserve this special annual break to spend time with their families. Economic improvement needs to be finely balanced with family and community time. Anzac Day, Easter, and Christmas remain as the few times when the whole country stops and takes a break. How long before attempts are made to liberalise trading laws around Anzac day and Christmas day,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The only people celebrating this proposed law change will be those who are making money from it.”

“Public holidays are traditions. 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. To argue that it is justified because shoppers are able 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.

“This is not an issue about choice as has also been argued. For many workers, they don’t have the luxury of choice as to whether they work or not. Coercion to work will be a very real threat.”

“Towns do have every right to protest that neighbouring towns can stay open when they can’t. But the ‘unfair advantage’ referred to has only come about because of the inconsistent application of the law – not because of the law itself. The law needs to be consistent and enforced. The Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE) needs to do its job and not turn a blind eye to the law,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Ironically, the inconsistency will also continue under this bill because one local authority may allow Easter Sunday trading while another local authority nearby may not change the restriction. This Bill does nothing to change that inconsistency. What will fix the inconsistency is for the law to be applied evenly and consistently across the nation. New Zealanders deserve the break.”

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