Govt Pushes Easter Trading – Are Christmas and Anzac Day Next?

Media Release 12 May 2016
Family First NZ says that Christmas Day, Anzac Day and Easter Friday will soon be regular trading days based on the government’s intention and justification to push through Easter Sunday trading laws.

“Ironically, the Easter trading laws proposed by the government will do nothing to solve the perceived problems, and will be a ‘hospital pass’ to local councils. The only people celebrating this proposed law change will be those who are making money from it,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Changes to trading laws should be done at a national level. It is the ad hoc local application of the laws that has led to the confusion and inconsistency over the past number of years.”

The Workplace Relations and Safety Minister stated, when introducing this Bill: “The historical Easter Sunday shop trading exemptions are out of date and create an unfair advantage for certain businesses and regions that can continue trading while others stay shut. We know there is a demand from communities across the country to allow for shop trading on Easter Sunday, particularly from those districts who rely on tourism.”

“On this basis, Christmas and Anzac Day should also be targeted. Ironically, the inconsistency will 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.”

“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,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“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. 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,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“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.”

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