Councillors in favour of Easter trading

easter-eggs-grass-chocolateLocal council candidates around the country support the introduction of Easter trading, according to a survey by Retail NZ.

Around the country, 78 per cent of candidates who responded to the survey said they would be willing to allow businesses, customers and employees a choice as to whether they open, shop or work on Easter Sunday.

“Under new legislation, Councils are able to decide whether to allow residents and visitors the choice to go to the shops on Easter Sunday, or to continue current outdated legislation that seeks to ban shopping,” said Greg Harford, GM for Public Affairs, Retail NZ. “We know that some customers will not want to shop on Easter Sunday, and some retailers won’t want to open – but it’s great to see that so many Council candidates are in favour of a permissive approach.”

The survey showed particularly strong support for allowing shops to choose to open on Easter Sunday in Rotorua-Lakes, Marlborough, New Plymouth, Queenstown-Lakes, South Waikato, Tasman, Timaru, Thames-Coromandel, Waimakariri, Western Bay of Plenty and Asbhurton Districts, as well as Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga Cities.

Support for Easter Trading was evenly split in Christchurch, Dunedin and Palmerston North.

“We had low response rates to our question from around the rest of the country, but there was strong opposition to Easter Trading in Carterton and the Far North District, while Lower Hutt and Nelson were the only cities where the majority of candidates told us they were opposed to shops opening.

“Overall, Retail NZ is optimistic that, after the local elections, new councils will move swiftly to consider this issue,” said Harford. “Not every retailer will want to open on Easter Sunday, and not everyone will want to shop, but we have long been of the view that it is the role of neither Government nor Councils to seek to regulate shopping between consenting adults.”

Harford added that the rights of retail employees and small businesses are well protected under recent amendments to the Shop Trading Hours Act. “No employee can be forced to work on Easter Sunday, and no business can be forced to open, even if they are located in a shopping mall.”

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