29 June 2022
Family First NZ is welcoming a decision by the Government to block attempts to liberalise trading laws around the Easter period.
“We reject any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and also Anzac and Christmas days because workers deserve this special annual break to spend time with their families. If anything, we should have more public holidays around Labour Day, Matariki and Waitangi Day. 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, Chief Executive of Family First NZ.
“Public holidays are a social good. 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.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in The Politics of Hope said “Public parks make no economic sense at all. We leave a whole lot of space unbuilt on and not capitalised in any way, but that is not the reason we have them. We have parks because they do us good…. They do not make economic sense but they do us good.”
“Public holidays are the same. New Zealanders deserve the break. Significantly we are aware of some major retail chains who do not open on Easter Sunday even in areas where they are allowed to.”
“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, for the sake of families.”