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Retail NZ disappointed over council's Easter trading stance

  • News
  • August 23, 2017
Retail NZ disappointed over council's Easter trading stance

The ban on Easter trading has been a hot topic since April, now Retail NZ are speaking out about their disappointment regarding Auckland Council's recommendation to not propose a policy on Easter Sunday trading.

Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s general manager for public affairs, says many Aucklanders want trading bans to be lifted, yet council employees are proposing to maintain that ban.

"Customers can and do want to be able to shop on Easter Sunday.  Research by Nielsen for Retail NZ shows that 57 per cent of Aucklanders engaged in some sort of commercial activity at Easter Sunday this year.”

"The Auckland Council's own statistically representative research by Colmar Brunton shows that 55 per cent of Aucklanders would like to see more shops open on Easter Sunday, so it's baffling that Council employees are proposing to maintain an out of date ban on shopping.”

A new law surrounding Easter trading says that councils in certain districts could vote on whether they’d like the opportunity to allow businesses to open on that Sunday.

This law also maintained that no employees could be forced to work.

“Shop employees now have specific protection under law so they can't be forced to work - while no protections apply to employees in any business outside retail,” says Harford.

As Harford points out there is a level of confusion surrounding what shops can open and what ones cant.

“Garden centres are allowed to open, but not hardware shops with a garden centre attached; small grocery stores are allowed to open, but not supermarkets; and any shop is allowed to open if it's located on Parnell Road, but not if it's located on the Onehunga Mall. 

"Auckland Council has the opportunity to create real choice for retail employees, shoppers and businesses as to whether shops are allowed to open on Easter Sunday, and it's disappointing that Council employees are seeking to deny people from making their own choices about how they spend Easter Sunday.”

Retail NZ is asking Auckland councillors to progress with the development of an Easter Sunday Trading policy, to allow individuals to make their own decisions ahead of Easter 2018.

The Newmarket Business Association has also weighed in, with chief executive Mark Knoff-Thomas expressing disappointment that central government didn't take a leadership position on this issue.

"By abdicating the responsibility to local bodies we are in danger of having a mish-mash of policy around the country – confusing many tourists and locals alike," he says. "Having said that, 28 local authorities now have policies in place to allow for Easter Trading, Auckland Council now has the opportunity to follow suit. It defies logic that under existing outdated laws, our neighbours in Parnell can trade, but our Newmarket business don’t have the same right. We do not expect that every business will open on Easter Sunday, but the decision to do so should sit with the individual businesses themselves.”

A poll conducted by the Newmarket Business Association indicates 70 percent of respondents support Easter trading laws being liberalised.

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