Easter Trading Should Be Free Vote For National MPs

Media Release August 2016
Family First NZ is challenging the National party to allow a conscience vote on Easter Trading, and says that if it was allowed, and based on the previous voting record of individual MPs on this issue, the current proposed law change would be defeated.

According to the voting records of National MPs recorded in Family First’s Value Your Vote resource over the past three elections (www.valueyourvote.org.nz) six National MPs would oppose Easter Trading laws, and a further six National MPs could not be guaranteed to support it. Ironically, one of those who has been inconsistent in their voting on this issue is Minister Michael Woodhouse who is pushing the proposed law change.

“Easter trading has always been a conscience issue, and John Key and the National party should allow that to continue. We have already seen this heavy hand on other issues such as the two votes on the anti-smacking law and also the Sky City pokie deal. Is this the end of the conscience vote for MPs?” asks Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Family First is also warning 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 Sunday trading laws proposed by the government will do nothing to solve the perceived problems of inconsistency, 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.”

“Economic issues need to be finely balanced with family and community factors. 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.”

“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.

“National MPs should be allowed to exercise their conscience on this family issue.”

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