The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says it welcomes trading legislation being liberalised, as it benefits the tourism industry and local economies.
However, it agreed with Retail NZ’s point of view that the bill isn’t going about it the right way.
TIA says a national approach is the best way to implement the law, as letting different councils decide on the laws will lead to a “patchwork of confusing and inconsistent rules”.
“Our visitors move quickly between regions and finding shops open in some places and not others does not create the seamless experience that visitors are looking for and that the tourism industry wishes to deliver,” TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said.
“We do not want to see 67 councils given the power to make 67 bylaws about Easter trading. A national approach will provide certainty for everyone.”
TIA says feedback from its members based on a 2006 and 2007 Easter trading review, which showed its members would like the option to be open for business over the Easter period.
Many members have major events on in their region during the Easter break, such as the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow, Roberts says.
“These events can attract thousands of visitors but current legislation means they cannot visit local shops, depriving the business community of the benefits of these events.”
It also agreed with Retail NZ’s previous statement, which said, “giving 67 local councils the power to make 67 bylaws about Easter Trading will mean significant cost for communities, industry, employee groups and councils, as they try to cope with a tidal wave of lengthy consultation. It will be made worse by the fact that the Government’s bill allows bylaws to be made for different areas within each Council district, and will require a review process every five years.”
Retail NZ reacted strongly to the bill when it was announced last October.
General manager of public affairs Greg Harford said the organisation was disappointed that the minister in charge of the new Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill, Michael Woodhouse, didn’t consult retailers and refused to meet to discussing concerns.
“Retailers want the choice to open their doors at times when their customers want to shop – but Michael Woodhouse’s bill does nothing other than pass the buck on trading rules to local councils, impose costs on communities and ratepayers, and still tries to ban shopping on Good Friday and Christmas Day, despite the fact that customers can and do shop 24/7 on these days,” Harford said.
The closing date for submissions on the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill was Thursday 21 January, 2016. The first reading will be 11 March.
Easter Sunday falls on March 27 this year.