More than two-thirds of councils allowed Easter Sunday shopping in their districts, however councils within main centres like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North and Hamilton refused to do so.
With retailers still struggling from the impacts of Covid-19, Retail NZ is calling for big city councils to allow the choice of whether to open on Easter Sunday or not.
“Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, yet out of date legislation means that shops have to close today, unless the local Council has given permission for shops to open, or some other exemption applies,” says Retail NZ chief executive, Greg Harford.
As Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, retail workers unable to work will typically need to take a day’s annual leave if they want to be paid, although where trading is permitted, retail workers cannot be forced to work. Under the law, retail workers have a special right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday if they want the day off, a right that does not apply to any other category of worker. Equally, business owners should be able to make the choice to open – or not – based on what suits their business.
Harford says New Zealand doesn’t need councils or Government trying to regulate shopping, especially 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, landills and recycling shops that are open on Easter Sunday.
“If it’s acceptable for local Councils to open their businesses to the public, why can’t retailers also be given the choice?”