24 Aug 2015

Govt to change Easter Sunday trading laws

8:59 pm on 24 August 2015

The Government has announced it will change the law to allow councils to decide whether retailers can open on Easter Sunday.

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Photo: AFP

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse said the current rules around shop trading over Easter were complex and relatively arbitrary.

He said they also included several historical exemptions, which allow shops in areas such as Queenstown and Taupo to open on Easter Sunday while those in Wanaka and Rotorua cannot.

"The result is that some businesses and regions have an unfair advantage over others, and there is a demand from communities across the country to allow for shop trading on Easter Sunday.

"The proposed law change will enable communities to choose whether or not to allow trading.

"In addition, the law change will give workers the opportunity to decline to work or accept work if they wish to on that day - with no reason necessary."

Only changes to Easter Sunday have been proposed.

The bill is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks and is likely to affect trading from Easter 2017.

Mayor welcomes proposal

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said she was rapt at the proposal.

The former Labour MP said Rotorua had suffered for 20 years by being left off a schedule of exemptions to Easter Sunday closing.

Ms Chadwick said she had been campaigning to reform holiday trading rules for the past 15 years.

She said the government had taken a pragmatic stand as member's bills, including her own, never got across the line.