28 June 2022
ACT MP Chris Baillie’s Member’s Bill on repealing Easter shopping restrictions should be voted through at first reading so we can have the debate on retailers having the choice to open or not over Easter, according to Retail NZ.
“We are calling on all Members of Parliament to vote refer the Bill to Select Committee at first reading tomorrow so we can have the debate about enabling businesses to have the right to choose to open or stay closed over Easter, while protecting the rights of workers.” says Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford.
“This should be a simple vote to have the debate on the merits of this Bill through the Select Committee process. It should not be a conscious vote and not a vote simply opposed based on archaic assumptions.”
“Retail NZ believes it is important to have this matter dealt with at a national level. The current regulations which delegate decision-making for Easter Sunday to local councils do not work. We still have the main economic centres not having made the move to enable this choice. Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and 21 other Councils have not enabled what others have around the country. Easter trading is working well in provincial towns and cities, and it’s disappointing that our big city councils and economic powerhouses aren’t allowing businesses to make the choice, taking account of worker and customer demand.”
“The debate is simple – to have the choice to open on those days over Easter should a retailer wish to do so. Retailers across the country would like the choice to open or not. Retailers, especially those in major CBDs are still struggling to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and many customers and tourists are keen to shop.”
The Repeal of Good Friday and Easter Sunday as Restricted Trading Days (Shop Trading and Sale of Alcohol) Amendment Bill is due to be debated at its first reading tomorrow in Parliament.
Easter trading – the facts and myths
- The current Shop Trading Hours Act does not give workers a day off – public holiday entitlements sit in the Holidays Act. It simply restricts the ability of shops to open, while any other business is able to operate.
- As Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, shop workers unable to work will typically need to take a day’s annual leave if they want to be paid – but where trading is permitted, shop workers cannot be forced to work.
- We believe in the continuation of shop workers having a special right to refuse to work on Good Friday or Easter Sunday if they want the day off – a right that does not apply to any other category of worker. This proposed Bill does not remove this right.
- Equally, business owners should be able to make the choice to open – or not – based on what suits their business.
- Retailers don’t need Councils or Government trying to regulate shopping, particularly when online shopping is available 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
- It is completely hypocritical of Councils to try and ban shopping while their own services continue to operate. Across the big cities, there is a range of swimming pools, leisure centres, landfills and recycling shops that are open across Easter. If it’s acceptable for local Councils to open their businesses to the public across Easter, why can’t retailers also be given the choice?
- Research for Retail NZ in 2018 showed that 50 per cent of New Zealanders did something commercial on Easter Sunday, and 69 per cent of New Zealanders don’t think the Government should force shops to close, or don’t care either way. Only a minority think the Government should force shops to close.
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