A new policy has passed late last year which allows councils to permit shops to open over Easter Weekend. But as the long weekend draws closer some big cities have missed the chance.
According to Retail NZ, more than a third of local councils have now adopted policies that permit shops in their district to open on Easter Sunday.
These councils, however, seem to be primarily small cities. Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Christchurch, Dunedin, Gisborne, and Hamilton all failed to decide in time whether they’ll open or not.
Although some councils have voted against it, the majority have appeared to be unsure or positive towards the proposed plan.
Greg Harford, Retail NZ general manager for public affairs says that the largest amount of councils deciding to permit Easter trading can be found in New Zealand heartlands.
“It is mostly business-friendly councils in heartland New Zealand that have moved quickly, while the big cities have yet to consider the issue formally. The Government didn’t give councils much time to consider the issue ahead of Easter this year, so we expect those who haven’t already done so will look at the issue over the next 8-10 months.”
The Easter trading law has been in the works for a while now as problems arise with business concerning themselves with a religious holiday. However, the new law allows councils to vote based on their district and create a plan that suits them best.
“The great thing about the new law is that councils are in a position where they can give choice to businesses, employees and shoppers, knowing that everyone’s right to a day off on Easter Sunday is secure,” says Harford. “Under the legislation, it is illegal to force anyone to open their business, or to force anyone to work in a shop on Easter Sunday.”
The new law allows business to operate as they deem fit, whether they want to open their doors or not the choice falls upon them.
Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, so if a shop remains closed the employees will be required to take a day’s annual leave says, Harford.
“Adopting a local shop trading hours’ policy means that councils are effectively allowing employees to choose when they want to take their holidays rather than being forced to take a day’s leave in April each year.”
The law will benefit people traveling around Easter each year who will now be able to enjoy more business being open during the long weekend.
“We are really pleased that 25 councils around the country have so far adopted such a policy,” says Harford. “We’re optimistic that others will be looking at the issue ahead of Easter 2018.”
For more information on Easter trading, and all you need to know for your business, visit Retail NZ here.