Government Botches Easter Trading Laws For Families

Media Release 10 April 2017
Family First NZ says the liberalisation of the Easter trading law by the Government has completely failed to solve the problem it was supposed to solve, and has resulted in rushed decisions, often against the majority views of submissions, and inconsistencies across the country.

“The Easter trading laws passed by the government have done nothing to solve the perceived problems, and have been a ‘hospital pass’ to local councils. The only people celebrating this law change will be those who are making money from it. But many kiwi families who enjoy the Easter break but are in the retail industry will no longer be afforded that luxury,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“New Zealanders deserve the break. Significantly we are aware of some major retail chains who are not opening on Easter Sunday even in areas where they are allowed to.”

“We also know that Christmas, Anzac Day and Good Friday will soon be targeted because there is money to be made.”

Wellington has failed to make a decision in time, yet over the hill, Masterton and Carterton will be opening (despite overwhelming opposition to the proposal in Masterton). Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Gisborne and Hamilton won’t make a decision in time for this Easter. In the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga has run out of time but Rotorua will be open. Both Nelson and Tasman have voted against allowing it. Far North District Council has said yes, but Whangarei won’t make a decision.”

“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 ‘unfair advantage’ referred to has only come about because of the inconsistent application of the law by the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE) who were turning a blind eye to the law.” 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.”

“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.

“We should keep the Easter culture.”

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