The Auckland council has officially rejected the possibility of lifting the ban that prohibits certain retailers from trading on Easter Sunday.
There have been strong sides during the debate surrounding lifting the ban, but ultimately Auckland council have the last say – deciding that allowing businesses to open on Easter Sunday would undermine worker rights.
Retail NZ’s general manager of public affairs Greg Harford, has expressed the disappointment Retail NZ feels over the proposal rejection.
"Today's decision shows that Auckland Council is not really interested in supporting business or consumer choice, and that it isn't interested in creating a level playing field for businesses across the Auckland region," he says.
"It is absurd that retail businesses in provincial districts like the Far North, Rangitikei and Clutha are allowed to make their own decisions about whether or not their businesses open on Easter Sunday, while those in Auckland, our biggest city have been denied that choice by the Auckland Council.
Even though Auckland council have expressed worries over taking away workers’ rights to a day off to celebrate the holiday, Harford highlights with the law no one could be forced to work.
“Retail workers have special protections under law to say no to working on Easter Sunday - and in fact have greater rights than workers in hospitality, logistics, healthcare, government, or any other sector - because there are no special protections in place for any group except retail employees.
The decision has been made effective immediately, and the law to allow trading on Easter Sunday will unlikely be bought up again until Easter 2019.