My annual rant on Easter trading

April 8th, 2009 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

I doubt there is any law as inconsistent and illogical as our current shop trading laws.

Let us start with the fact this law bans employees from being able to earn extra money. We’re in a recession and times are tough. A shop assistant  could earn say an extra $450 if they were allowed to work this Friday and Sunday. That would be enough money so they could then actually afford a holiday later in the year.

Then let us look at the fact Easter Sunday is not a public holiday. We have a law that bans you from being able to work on a day which is not even a public holiday. It is simply a religious day. Easter Monday is a public holiday and you are allowed to work that day, but in most cases not on Easter Sunday.

Some may claim the law allows people the weekend off. Apart from the fact that the law removes any choice from employees, it does not. People can be forced to work on Easter Saturday. Would it not be far superior to say have a law that says no employee (except essential services) can be forced to work over the four Easter days, but that they can do so if they wish. As present they can be forced to work on at least one of those days, and have no choice about working the other two.

Then we have the anomalies. Where do you start. How about a four square can not open but a Star Mart can? How about the fact a souvenir shop can open but a gift shop can not?  And the garden centre amendment that allowed them to open on Easter Sunday, but not Good Friday?

And that is before we even deal with regional anomalies. Shops in Queenstown can open, but not Wanaka. Taupo is okay, but not Rotorua.

The law is a mess. It is anti-worker and anti-choice. We have a law that stops many workers from being able to earn extra money – some of it as holiday and penal rates. It is nothing to do with protecting workers – it is about compelling them. Workers already have protection from being forced to work on protected days under the Act:

No worker shall be required to work on a protected day or at night. No undue influence shall be applied to any worker in an attempt to induce that worker to agree to work on a protected day or at night. No action shall be taken to discriminate against or disadvantage any worker not wishing to work on a protected day or at night.

Now again Easter Sunday is not a public holiday. It is a religious day. Removing from workers the ability to choose to work that day (if their employers wish to open) does not guarantee them Easter off – they can be forced to work Easter Saturday.

Rotorua MP has a private members bill that is a small step forward. It allows local communities to decide whether or not shops can open on Easter Sunday. Hopefully Parliament will do the right thing and not cave into to the unholy alliance between the religious right and the union left.

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107 Responses to “My annual rant on Easter trading”

  1. Richard (97 comments) says:

    Ummm .. CLOSE.

    I agree with 90% of what you say (and the key message) BUT you made the very common mistake of thinking Easter Sunday is a public holiday, it’s not. People CAN be forced to work Easter Sunday – they just cant sell anything (well except for certain goods).

    Easter Sunday is just a standard day, it just has special protection for things that cant be sold (most things). So if someone DOES work on it, they don’t get paid extra or day in lieu (so for example a person in an office that normally works Sundays does NOT get this day off, nor paid extra).

    Easter MONDAY is a public holiday, but has no special protection for selling things, so the worker gets extra $ and/or a day in lieu, but no reconstruction on selling stuff.

    Screwed eh? :-)

    Richard

    [DPF: I explicitly said Easter Sunday is not a public holiday]

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  2. CJasper (9 comments) says:

    Easter is a mess.
    Whats even more of a mess are the idiotic cafes and restaurants who try and charge 15% surcharge on Saturday… when it’s not even a public holiday. I have fun times arguing about that charge when it appears on my Saturday Brunch.

    We should scrap McClays bill and instead introduce free for all trading similar to Christmas. Easter and Christmas are borne out from the same reason except ones a death and ones a birth.

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  3. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Well said David…..without even bringing up the violation of religious freedom that the Sunday ban intails…..Seperation of Church and State? Yeah right!

    How funny must the leftys feel when for a few days prior to Easter and Christmas they are suddenly overwhelmed with temporary comrades from the religious right…..do they stand about having cups of tea and avoiding eye contact?

    ;-)

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  4. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    “No worker shall be required to work on a protected day or at night. No undue influence shall be applied to any worker in an attempt to induce that worker to agree to work on a protected day or at night. No action shall be taken to discriminate against or disadvantage any worker not wishing to work on a protected day or at night.”

    Oh PLEASE…this is the same rubbish we heard way back when seven day trading was introduced.

    “Let us start with the fact this law bans employees from being able to earn extra money. We’re in a recession and times are tough.”

    So what was your reasoning last year when we were not in recession?

    “Now again Easter Sunday is not a public holiday. It is a religious day. Removing from workers the ability to choose to work that day (if their employers wish to open) does not guarantee them Easter off – they can be forced to work Easter Saturday.”

    You know bloody well that within two years the “right” to choose will not be the workers. A far better idea would be for the Nat’s to remove the fourth week of annual leave that Labour lumbered all employers with and replace it with a compulsory four day break over Easter.

    [DP: So you wish to dictate to all of NZ when they must take their fourth week of holidays. You really should join the Green Party]

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  5. Richard (97 comments) says:

    Ooops .. my bad. You DID corectly identify Sunday/Monday.

    You did say about “cant be forced to work Sunday” which I think is not the case – as a standard work day it has no protection under labour law, just under laws for selling stuff (so workers can be ‘made’ to turn up).

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  6. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    IMHO this whole rant has only been done in order to set up that very clever denouement about:

    “Hopefully Parliament will do the right thing and not cave into to the unholy alliance between the religious right and the union left.”

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  7. James (1,338 comments) says:

    “Hopefully Parliament will do the right thing and not cave into to the unholy alliance between the religious right and the union left.”

    Maybe they have a spare Che shirt in the stores for new comrade bruv? ;-)

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  8. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    Here is another stupid anomaly. Or at least something that was never tested.

    I used to run a chain of equipment hire businesses and we always opened on each day of Easter. We never got bothered by the inspectors even though we were close in some branches to garden centres. Why? Because we did not sell stuff, just hired it and the inspectors did not know how to interpret that.

    We did not make employees work and on occasions they negotiated higher wages with us to work. That’s fair (although I suspect union officials would disagree). And most wanted and enjoyed the extra pay for what was usually a pretty cruisy day. In most branches we ran at a loss on those days but strategically it was important in providing continuity of service to customers.

    It should be our choice how to run a business and make a profit.

    Of course the irony was that many of the people hiring stuff were going home to put in a harder days work than they would normally undertake in their own paid jobs. So much for rest and recreation – or religious observation.

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  9. littlebluedroid (22 comments) says:

    David

    Four Squares are allowed to open. Mine will be. The law blocks supermarkets and Four Squares, like star marts are not.

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  10. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeez – when will people be satisfied with shopping 361 days a year – thats about 99% of possible days.

    Anyone who wants 100% is simply a bit sick. Frankly we need to reduce our shopping days. very few countries are as ‘open’ as New zealand. Europe is mostly 5.5 or 6 days only (except the UK) . Many asian countires ‘seem’ to be open 7 days, but in fact in many of them they are only open 6 days – every shop must be only open 6 days in many countires.

    This is in recognition that families need time together.

    As well, many countries have many more public holidays than NZ, and on thise days the shops are closed.

    Why are New ealanders so emotionally sick that they need to go shopping all the time.

    And if we want to improve the health of our teenagers, we should be closed on saturdays so that they can (preferably have to) play team sport.

    With any luck the ‘stress’ law that came in (was it last year?) will lead to reduction in shopping hours.

    [DPF: Who is talking about shopping. It is about whether you ban employees from being able to earn money by working on a day that isn’t even a public holiday?]

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  11. goonix (140 comments) says:

    Good post DPF. I too find it amusing seeing christian fundamentalists getting into bed with the unionists (not in a homosexual way, of course, as that would be a ‘sin’).

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  12. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    As an atheist I have a problem being forced to respect a religious holiday – and no I do not believe Xmas is a religious holiday any more.

    As a hindu I also have a problem being forced to respect a christian religious holiday

    As a …..

    It’s also a bit of union bollocks as self-employed, of whom there an awful lot in NZ, don’t get to pay themselves double or take extra holidays but hopefully charge extra.

    I’m also pro-choice – plenty of people would quite like to earn extra $’s and take a different day off (actually 2 under current rules) as frankly easter is no great special celebration. Why are we telling them they can’t? We’ll be joining the greens next.

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  13. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    DPF – I think you must have been on something thats upset your logic balance.

    What a load of drivel – you’re starting to sound like some of the unbalanced maori sector who can see some unusual ‘rights’.
    (there is a group in the Waikato who blame brands like ‘Tui’ and ‘Waikato’ on beer for the reason why soo many young maori drink so much of it. I mean — thats way out stuff).

    No one has a ‘right’ to earn money as an employee when ever they feel like it – where did you get that idea from? Take it to its logical extension and business would have top be open 24 hrs, 365 days. Do you really truely believe this. Would you keep your business open to cater for this ‘right’ that you think exists?

    I think you are just taking the piss – as the old saying goes.
    In fact now that Ive read it all again, youve got to be on whacky backy or something similar.

    [DPF: You could not be more wrong. The right to work is a fundamental human right. To have the state prevent someone from choosing to work is no minor thing. People can not survive unless they are allowed to sell their time, goods or services. Now the right to work is not the same as being guaranteed the right that someone will employ you at a particular time. But if an employee genuinely wishes to work, and an employer voluntarily wishes to pay them to work, it is a bizarre law that makes this illegal – it is preventing consenting adults from doing something they both wish to do]

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  14. wreck1080 (3,964 comments) says:

    A rant on civil aviation is needed too.

    An enterprising outfit had organised a charter flight from tauranga to norfolk island.

    They were even going to return via hamilton to ease regulatory requirements.

    However, it seems the bureaucrats came up with new rules all the time to stop it going ahead.

    The old mayor is pretty ticked off apparently the paper pusher tried giving him an earful. I think there might be some firing going on.

    NZ needs to decide if they want international flights from the larger regional centers.

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  15. Viking2 (11,568 comments) says:

    Why can’t the law makers just piss off and let people decide for themselves if they wish to work. Stupid blonde, peg leg Meg was going to change it all from the day she stood for Tauranga until she got her job as chief whinger. ( and the most Honorable William Raymond Peters fo NFA was going to make sure it happened. Allas all they both did was a fat lot in their pants.)
    Just shows what a bloody useless lot inhabit ” The Green House” in Wellington.

    (Must be green now, for when you mix blue and yellow you get green and now that green has a” darker shade of pale”

    Won’t be long and it will be having a red tinge.

    and yes Crosby is a bit pissed at the scummy bureaucrats, but then that’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

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  16. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    “Would it not be far superior to say have a law that says no employee (except essential services) can be forced to work over the four Easter days, but that they can do so if they wish”

    Yes, and for Christmas Day also.

    Surely it is time to abolish the observance of both Easter and Christmas as public holidays and, because of the tradition that it entails, simply make it unlawful to force someone to work on Good Friday, Easter Monday and Christmas Day? Then we can get on with other things and get over the fuss this always seems to lead to.

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  17. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    “[DP: So you wish to dictate to all of NZ when they must take their fourth week of holidays. You really should join the Green Party]”

    Oh Gee DPF, that is a bit personal don’t you think?.

    When you clear away all the emotive bullshit the Easter debate comes down to this….

    Some of those who are in business (of which I have been in the past) want the right for their business to be open 365 days a year, of course they will never admit that or promote legislation that honest because the public would not wear it.
    The only way they can do it is by stealth, first you introduce a bill designed to “clean up messy legislation”, when you are asked to speak about the issue you say it is about “not taking away the rights of workers to earn money” (and that is NOT a cheap shot at you DPF)
    You keep reminding the people that some shops can be open and others cannot, you also keep hammering away at how unjust this is and that there should be one rule for all, of course what you do not admit is that there is no choice in the matter, what you really want is for ALL shops and businesses to be open.

    Of course there will be those who will say this is wrong, to them you reply using the tried and tested lie “nobody will be forced to work on the three and a half days a year we currently observe as true national holidays”, these are the same lies that Labour and then National used back in the late 80’s when seven day shopping was first introduced, indeed I can still remember an MP coming on TV and assuring the people of NZ that “nobody will be forced to work weekends”….yeah right!

    The reality is that the most vulnerable workers will again be the poor bastards who have NO choice in the matter, wanting 365 day shopping is pure fucking greed, nothing more and nothing less.

    There are those of us who look back twenty years and wonder why things have changed so much, today we have far more obese kids, far more “at risk” kids and far more youth violence, one of the major contributors to those problems is seven day trading and the destruction of the traditional kiwi weekend where mum or dad took the kids to sport and kept the little bastards off the street.

    If you want to increase productivity then you have to make sure that your workers have adequate breaks away from their place of work, one of the reasons our productivity is so low is because of the hours we work, as somebody said before most of Europe has a 5.5 day working week, there is no reason short of greed why we cannot go back to that, the nation as a whole will be a lot better for it.

    Shorter, harder (more productive) working weeks is one way to massively increase productivity, you would end up with happier workers, healthier workers and a lot less chance for union scum to agitate and shit stir.

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  18. Scott (1,818 comments) says:

    Agree with you big bruv.

    Of course I also think its nice we have a day off and respect Easter traditions.
    Also we honour God.

    And to DPF- there is really no basis for human rights without God. I think you should really rethink your position. I suspect the truth is that our sinful nature is coming through and we just do not like the idea of christianity in the public square.

    Personally I am tired of this every year rant and I think people should relax and exercise that tolerance that secular liberals are supposed to be so famous for.

    Also why not go to church? Connect with that inner man and may be your inner soul. Perhaps it might do some good?

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  19. aladin (48 comments) says:

    Hopefully cafe owners and the like will not be charging a surcharge on goods this Sunday since it isn’t a public holiday, or are they able to get around this somehow?

    Linda

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  20. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    Scott

    Just to be crystal clear, my “rant” has nothing to do with your God.

    The fact that for some Easter is a religious festival is all fine and good but for most of us it means a holiday that we can spend relaxing.

    If you want to go to church then knock yourself out, just don’t bother waiting for me to show up.

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  21. aladin (48 comments) says:

    Btw DPF: “A shop assistant could earn say an extra $450 if they were allowed to work this Friday and Sunday”

    How did you calculate that? I’m working Friday and Sunday and don’t get anywhere near that amount.

    Thanks, Linda

    [DPF: You get effectively paid 2.5 times normal pay for working Friday]

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  22. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Quite frankly I could not give a hairy horse’s arse what the fuck happens. I’m one of the lucky ones who get to work everyday if I so wish and even if I don’t so wish. I have one thing to say to those who get their nickers in a twist when they say these days are sacrosanct and can not be screwed with, you are full of it!. Whats the bet those so vehemently opposed to trading on these days have not on any occasion ever spent one cent in one shop over these days, give me a fucking break. If you sincerely believe that any sort of trading on these day is an affront to workers rights then I would assume you shut yourself up in your house over this period and refuse to venture out least you be tempted to spend

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  23. Michael E (274 comments) says:

    While I’m not sure I would go shopping for non-essentials on Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday for religious reasons, I happily do so on Yom Kippur, Magha Puja, Ramadan …

    Why is everyone else forced to share my beliefs?

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  24. fishe (166 comments) says:

    Scott,

    ‘To honour god’ is no reason to support laws enforcing a national holiday. Separation of religion and state is key. Anyone is free to go to any church services on easter – that is not an issue. And this is a very fine thing indeed.

    It would be nice if you backed up your claim that there is no basis for human rights without god as well. Which god? Which religion? Which parts of that religion pertain to human rights?

    These ancient civilisations such as Afghanistan must have gone very wrong somewhere along the way don’t cha think?

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  25. dave (988 comments) says:

    The right to work is a fundamental human right. To have the state prevent someone from choosing to work is no minor thing
    What say the person was a partnered student on a student allowance who worked weekends in a shop , and their combined income was just under the threshold for full student allowance. They would be grateful not to have to work a stat day as to do so means they will be slightly over the threshold – and although their income may increase $80.00 or so, they`ll lose $250.00 of student allowance.

    Its all well and good having the choice to work. but that choice has to come with some benefits ie: if you work, you want to get more income.

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  26. dave (988 comments) says:

    Oh.. and as for a shop assistant to earn an extra $450 for two days work for working stats, they`d have to earn $20 hr each day to do that. If you think shop assistants earn $20 hour, DPF, you’re deluded.

    [With the paid day off, it is based on $15/hr]

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  27. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    Screw the bloody lot of it I say.
    I blame Stephen Tindall for the fuck up of New Zealand and New Zealand families.
    He was the one that pushed for all the extra trading.
    Go back to monday – Friday and Saturday morning trading I say!!
    Let families enjoy the weekend again.

    If someone has $100 a week that they can spend on flowers or clothes or whatever….. That’s all they have.
    They will find a time and place to spend it.
    All the new shops that sell grog….. Have the booze $ spend gone up? NO!!
    There is still only so much money that can be spent, so I say find your right place and time to spend it and shut down all the extra hours!!

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  28. dave (988 comments) says:

    Actually, I should have said Friday/Sats given that sat/sun is not a stat day. And as sunday is not a stat day I dont see any reason why the shops should be closed. Thats from a person who has a christian belief.

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  29. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    Which god? Which religion? Which parts of that religion pertain to human rights? These ancient civilisations such as Afghanistan must have gone very wrong somewhere along the way don’t cha think?

    Yes, unfortunately fishe, you make the mistake many, perhaps most, make, in this fallen world.

    By assuming that religion has anything whatsoever to do with God, who He is, and what He wants.

    To the God-fearing soul, religion is but a mere guide, not a mantra, not a doctrine, not a precept, not a life.

    Until you separate religion from man’s practice of it, you’ll never understand what it is to be religious.

    It’s a shame most people in this fallen world have moved away from wisdom, for they know not what they do. Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom whether people know it or not, and having the State acknowledge that through a universal holiday is not a bad thing, even if most people don’t understand the reason why.

    DPF, based on your reasoning above, I presume you’re also against traders in Israeli being forced to close for holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Pesach, Yom Yerushalayim, Yom HaShoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut?

    [DPF: Absolutely. Outraegous]

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  30. sbk (313 comments) says:

    “By assuming that religion has anything whatsoever to do with God, who He is, and what He wants”…He?

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  31. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    Well sbk, given God is all about relationships I suspect if He had a gender it would be female, but I’m conservative and that’s why I use the male gender when referring to humankind, as well as when I refer to God.

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  32. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,753 comments) says:

    Let market forces decide.

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  33. Dusky (51 comments) says:

    I can’t help it – I’m going to throw in my two cents. (Maybe I should make it a pound? This is a recession!)

    Whether or not Christianity has anything to do with human rights … I don’t know … I think those do rather supercede religion. By definition, don’t they transcend law etc? They simply ‘are’. That said, they often seem to be connected with morality … a persons right to be housed, to eat, etc … where our beliefs of morality aren’t practised, what we consider to be human rights are often denied.

    And like it or not, our belief in what is moral, and therefore what is a human right – and yes, many of our laws, thou shalt not commit murder, thou shalt not steal etc … it’s all part of the Christian faith. Of course it’s also part of other faiths and cultures, but while they are becoming part of New Zealand, spreading out through the west etc, they are not yet part of the foundation of our culture.

    Christianity is. The religious side of Christmas is. The religious side of Easter is.

    I’m not a Christian. I used to be, but for the past couple of years, I’ve considered myself a hard agnostic. Be that as it may, I still think highly of the Christian faith … it is the faith of not just my parents, but many of my ancestors. It is a large part of who they were, and their society, and by association, me.

    Regardless of personal beliefs, I would expect the same to be true of most pakeha New Zealanders.

    So … Easter Sunday. I like this to be work-free. I like to see it with a mark of respect … a difference between it and any other day. A reminder that it is important for my culture.

    I do believe that it is awkward to have special regulations on it that apply to it without its being a public holiday.
    Surely it could be made a public holiday, for those that would normally be scheduled to be work that day?
    And I’ve no problem with supermarkets, petrol stations etc being open.

    I just don’t like seeing things like that disappear … it was a massive adjustment for me coming here and remembering that the supermarkets aren’t open for most of Sunday … but now that I’ve gotten used to it … oh who’m I kidding, it’s still an inconvenience, and I’m not used to it.

    But inconvenience aside, I think it’s nice.

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  34. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Im too pissed to respond at the moment so I’ll savage your God squad arses tomorrow….night all.

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  35. greenjacket (486 comments) says:

    Why do people have such a problem with freedom?

    I am an atheist. But I am forced to spend a day sitting at home because the shops and pubs are closed in order to placate the religious beliefs of people like Reid and Scott? Now I don’t have a problem with Reid or Scott doing their religious rituals, and if they want to take a day off to do their religious observances, then that is fine – but they are trying to force those beliefs onto me (apparently I must respect god) using the power of the State.

    O well – I guess I’ll just have to spend the day sinning!

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  36. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    Meh. I’ll put in my traditional 2c, since DPF has put up his traditional post. DPF is absolutely right. He is not in any way disguising his intent – he absolutely believes that anyone who wants to open their shop 265 days a year, 24/7, should be allowed to do so, as long as someone wants to come work for them.

    Most of the arguments I see are straw men or frankly stupid. They come down to:
    1. Religion. The state shouldn’t enforce any one religion. Enough said
    2. Let people have a day off. As DPF has pointed out, the current law doesn’t actually let people have easter off, and even if it did, it isn’t letting, it is forcing. If DPF got what he wanted, it would let people have a day off, or even the whole weekend off, but it would also let them work if they preferred to do so. Deciding for other people what they should want is, to me, a sign of the arrogance of the left
    3. You don’t need to shop every day of the year. Quite correct. Actually, some of us don’t need to shop at all. But we still do it. What if it were my opinion that you didn’t need to wear green clothes. Ever. Just because I happen to think nobody should wear green (it always looks awful). What’s that I hear – you don’t need fashion advice from me? Well, I don’t need your advice on when I should go shopping.
    4. The evil employers will take advantage of DPFs changes to force people to work. Yep, and we should ban knives because some people might hurt someone with one. I don’t see the point in arguing against laws on the basis that some people might disobey them. If that is your argument, then every law is bad.

    In other words, piss poor arguments, once again DPF is consistent in his beliefs and political stance. No need for government compulsion in this area, they should butt out.

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  37. mavxp (492 comments) says:

    The advantage of public holidays is to share something culturally as Dusky kind of points to. Why celebrate MLK day or 4th of July in the US, or Waitangi day in NZ?

    The problem with Easter seems to be that less and less people identify culturally with christianity or even the pagan festivals that preceeded them. Even the Romans used to stop their commerce to honor the gods and enjoy some gladiatorial combats.

    As a person with christian beliefs I actually dont mind if people choose to observe a particular date on the calendar or not that is supposed to be when you remember Jesus death and resurrection. For christians they actually dont need a date since it is so central to their faith, they should remember it every day – or at least every week at church when they take the bread and wine (“this do in remembrance of me”). So I am actually in favour of freedom to choose. The date is not important anyway – its the significance of whether Jesus was in fact God-as-man on earth, and what he came to do. Did he take our place, our sin and death with him when he died? Did he free the Jewish people from the law which condemned them to slavish devotion that as often made them hippocrits as it did “good people”? Did he make way for non-Jews (unclean barbarians) to connect with God?

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  38. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    but they are trying to force those beliefs onto me (apparently I must respect god) using the power of the State

    It’s impossible to force a belief on anyone, greenjacket, that’s not why I’m advocating this retention. You appear to imagine that I’m saying that you “…must respect god.” I’m not saying anything of the sort. I’m saying you should, for a variety of reasons. A bit like you should not smoke. You’re free to disregard that advice, at your own peril.

    Societies throughout the ages have constructed various mechanisms to pay homage to YHWY in various ways. Religious holidays are but one of those ways. As max says above, even if there were no holidays, religious observance will continue amongst the faithful. But the point is, those holidays are designed for us, not for YHWY. If NZ chooses to free up trading over the Easter Holiday, YHWY won’t care, He’ll probably just shake His head sadly and turn to other matters. But how is it beneficial to everyone in society, if through ignorance and misunderstanding a destructive behaviour is reinforced?

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  39. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “but they are trying to force those beliefs onto me using the power of the State”

    bahahaaaaaaaaa -Global Warming anyone?

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  40. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    >>>the unholy alliance between the religious right and the union left.<<<
    Good one David

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  41. peterwn (3,307 comments) says:

    Believe it or not – Good Friday is not a holiday in Italy – churches hold early evening services that day.

    Seems the Easter trading restriction (un)holy alliance is similar to the brewery / temperence alliance years ago which supported 6 o’clock closing – did wonders for the payroll. At that time the breweries owned most of the pubs.

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  42. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Meanwhile, people who do celebrate Eid or Hannukah are forced to follow the holiday system of another religion.

    Didn’t someone come up with the idea of having a number of assigned festival-holiday days that you can assign as fits your religion or lack thereof?

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  43. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    We’re in a recession and times are tough. A shop assistant could earn say an extra $450 if they were allowed to work this Friday and Sunday.

    Haha! Nah now come on DPF, this is pushing it way too far. If any assistant earned that much they’d have to be on commission with big ticket items, maybe a car salesman, or custom made imported furniture? Since most of the previous examples of this argument have quite rightly involved hospitality industry staff, no one is making – or would be offered as inducement – that amount. Usually they’re just rostered on, no penal rates. They’d have to be running a private prostituion ring on the side to make that much. Hot crossed buns with your coffee, sir? :shock:

    Match that sudden wages bill hike with the argument that a shop must open to stay alive. Doesn’t match does it.

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  44. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Zzzzzzzzzz. Let the people have a weekend off.

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  45. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Though I do like the idea of whole communities or the whole community of New Zealand taking time off together.

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  46. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    Time off together …to smoke cuban cigars and plot the revolution? ;)

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  47. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Time off together …to smoke cuban cigars and plot the revolution?

    Hah, it would be revolutionary all of its own if we all did something together as a community.

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  48. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    We did once, it was called Easter.

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  49. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    I doubt there is any law as inconsistent and illogical as our current Easter shop trading laws.

    How about the law around delegating authority to employees.

    Company law requires that a board of directors remove any delegations to any person (e.g. a CEO) if that board no longer has confidence in them.

    Employment law effectively forbids this (you have to go through a process, retraining etc. giving them the chance to come up to code). If you just advise them that you no longer have confidence and remove the delegations it can be considered constructive dismissal.

    If a board ever just loses confidence in a CEO, it has to decide which law to break.

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  50. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    DPF, based on your reasoning above, I presume you’re also against traders in Israeli being forced to close for holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Pesach, Yom Yerushalayim, Yom HaShoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut?

    I think DPF is talking about New Zealand Easter trading laws. I don’t begrudge anyone working on any day, as long as there is not compulsion to work on days that are regarded as statutory holidays. My experience is that there are always volunteers. Someone wants either the extra money or that dau in lieu at some more convenient time. We are not talking about people being forced down a mine to dig coal with their hands. The laws are so fucked up they need to be either scrapped or apply to every retail outlet in the country in every location.

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  51. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    “Though I do like the idea of whole communities or the whole community of New Zealand taking time off together”

    But Ryan….think of the kids!!! how will their poor desperate parents be able to feed them for the other 361.5 days per year if they FORCED to take three and a half days off a year.

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  52. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    You’re not an employee David, get over it.

    I say you’re just trying to divert attention from that “incident” a couple of thousand years back when there was some unpleasentness invloving some of your ancestors.

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  53. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    The problem is the compulsion big bruv. All those other public holidays pretty much allow people to work if they choose to do so, and I’m reasonably sure that any that do remain a compulsary day off that DPF would support removing that compulsion. Other than perhaps Anzac day, but I’d be putting words in DPF’s mouth.

    Still there are no real arguments here, just lots of “wouldn’t it be nice if everyone in NZ had a day off together at Easter.” Maybe it would be, maybe it wouldn’t. But the reality is that we already don’t. The illusion of a happy suburb playing cricket together in the street at Easter just doesn’t exist. Some people go away on holiday, some people do renovations, some people go to garden centres (apparently that’s OK, although nobody has explained why), people in Queenstown don’t apparently need to play cricket in the streets. The whole thing is absurd, and even if it were a good idea in your opinion – who said you get to force your opinion on everyone else?

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  54. Circe (13 comments) says:

    It’s a ridiculous law, and it drives everyone nuts. Check out Brian Edwards rave on the subjectt on http://www.brianedwardsmedia.co.nz

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  55. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    No Circe it does not drive everyone nuts, most of us get the hell over it.

    There was a time when the world bloody stopped at 4.30 on a Friday and if you hadn’t done your shopping during late night opening then you went bloody hungry.

    The fact that so many in this country soils themseleves when they have to go a couple of hours without a bloody latte is just really bloody pathetic.

    Take a viagra and harden up.

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  56. Scott (1,818 comments) says:

    I for one will be in church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. These are the most sacred days in the Christian calendar and often people go to church that are not regular attenders. So good on you if you do go.

    Once again for those perturbed that you cannot get your cappuccino on Good Friday, remember these are the most sacred days in the Christian calendar. It would be in my view tolerant and enlightened of you to respect those days rather than continually moaning that the shops are shut for two days of the year.

    Christianity has a special place in New Zealand Society as it is the foundation of our history and indeed Western civilisation — as shown by our national anthem and our calendar. Please don’t go on about other religions. They are not the foundation of our nation.

    Finally no one is forcing you to go to church. So you are free to do pretty much what you like. Remember Christ died for sinners — that’s you and me. You may not believe it but I appeal to your much vaunted liberal tolerance to respect it.

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  57. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    “Once again for those perturbed that you cannot get your cappuccino on Good Friday,”

    What of those who would like to be paid to provide cappuccinos on Good Friday?

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  58. Scott (1,818 comments) says:

    Finally DPF it is not an “unholy alliance” between the left and the right. You are quite simply way off track and in my opinion almost perverse in your thinking on this issue.

    Most Christians and trade unionists would agree on the need to protect these special days. For many employees this is one of the few chances they get to spend time with all of their family. Many people have no choice about when they will work and so they are grateful for the protection the Easter trading laws give them. Looking after workers at the bottom of the socio economic scale is something Christians and trade unionists (whether Christian or not) can definitely agree on.

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  59. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    Bloody well said Murray

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  60. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Scott:

    “Once again for those perturbed that you cannot get your cappuccino on Good Friday, remember these are the most sacred days in the Christian calendar. It would be in my view tolerant and enlightened of you to respect those days rather than continually moaning that the shops are shut for two days of the year.”

    Oh so not wanting to be entangled in and dictated to on YOUR special days is now somehow unenlightened and intoleratnt now is it Scott? Bullshit.What the rest of us are asking for is to be left alone….not pressganged into observing your fantasy frollics.Im happy for you to organise to have time off to do as you want too but please don’t try and force the unbeliving rest of us to comply…its arrogant and evil.

    “Christianity has a special place in New Zealand Society as it is the foundation of our history and indeed Western civilisation — as shown by our national anthem and our calendar. Please don’t go on about other religions. They are not the foundation of our nation.”

    Christianity has been an influence…no question ,for some good and much evil.But our civilization rests on the tenents of the Greeks and their body of thought rather than the primitive silliness of religion.The futher from religious dictate we have got the healthier and wealthier we have become….and the problems we do still have are more to do with allowing irrational and evil ideas to takehold…like socialism,subjectivism,altruism etc….while ignoring the real source of morality and truth….the object reality we live in and that spawned us as man.

    “Finally no one is forcing you to go to church. So you are free to do pretty much what you like. Remember Christ died for sinners — that’s you and me. You may not believe it but I appeal to your much vaunted liberal tolerance to respect it.”

    And no ones forcing you NOT to go to church…..so practice what you preach and leave others alone.

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  61. James (1,338 comments) says:

    And this sudo socialist piffle…

    “Most Christians and trade unionists would agree on the need to protect these special days. For many employees this is one of the few chances they get to spend time with all of their family. Many people have no choice about when they will work and so they are grateful for the protection the Easter trading laws give them. Looking after workers at the bottom of the socio economic scale is something Christians and trade unionists (whether Christian or not) can definitely agree on.”

    A lack of choice in your employment options in a free society does not impose an unchosen obligation on anyone else to make you feel better and “protect” you from reality at their expense.The precived needs of one man does not validate the violation of the rights of another….thats socialist/authoritarian thinking comrade.

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  62. baxter (893 comments) says:

    DPF:::::::::::::::My annual rant on Easter trading

    Except I seem to recall you blogging last Easter Day how relaxed and peaceful and enjoyable you found it…..Anyway as SCOTT explains these are our two most sacred days, a time for reflection and appreciation. We need no longer be a ‘secular society’ and many of our problems would be resolved if our children were again brought up with Christian values rather than the destructive ideals of our former leader.

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  63. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    I’m sorry – thought I was on kiwiblog but seemed to have strayed on to christianblog.com

    For those of you who have faith – that’s nice and I’m happy for you – but supporting any arguments about working or not working based on religion is frankly, ludicrous. The moment you open that door you step on the slippery slope of inserting religious requirements in to every day life (one of the few times I’ve enjoyed a mixed metaphor that sentence 8) ).

    Feedback from friends in the UK is we have piggy banks banned, no christmas trees in the centre of towns etc etc because of offence to muslims etc At this rate we’ll not be allowed to use fly killer because it offends buddists. Fonterra will be forced out of business because …….. People with religious views who are offended by what the secular majority do often force that offence upon themselves and it’s their problem – tolerance doesn’t seem to kick in here.

    Now, the moment one asserts that NZ is a christian country we come against simple fact that a remarkably small %age of people in NZ even bother to go to church on a regular basis. We have a strong anglo-saxon history, which brought with it elements of christianity is the strongest statement I’m willing to make.

    For most Xmas and Easter are not religious holidays so it’s not really relevant. There’s stronger feelings for ANZAC day.

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  64. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    To our Christian friends, happy Easter, to our Jewish friends, happy Passover.

    To our atheist friends… good luck.

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  65. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    slijmbal

    If you happen to support a repeal of the Easter trading hours then it follows that you must also support shopping on Anzac day and Christmas day.

    You cannot have it both ways.

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  66. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    To our Christian friends, happy Easter, to our Jewish friends, happy Passover.

    To our atheist friends… good luck.

    Cue menacing chord.

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  67. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    BB

    As I stated earlier – I am pro choice and anti using religion as part of the discussion. Don’t see why the state has to enforce inconsistent rules that remove the rights of people to work when they want to.

    I never said don’t shop on Xmas day or ANZAC day but do shop over easter, which is what I think you’re saying – not sure where you get that from

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  68. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    slijmbal

    Fair point, perhaps I should have worded it a little better.

    My point is this, if those who support a repeal of the Easter trading hours are consistent then they MUST support a repeal of trading hours on Anzac day and Christmas day.

    The religious “element” has nothing to do with my desire to see these holidays guaranteed.

    I am also glad to see that you are pro choice, as it happens so am I however I am also a realist, within two years the workers will have NO choice.

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  69. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Murray (2813) Vote: 1 3 Says:

    April 9th, 2009 at 1:54 pm
    To our Christian friends, happy Easter, to our Jewish friends, happy Passover.

    To our atheist friends… good luck.

    I’ll just celebrate the day Man killed god. Finally, vengeance for the theft of ribs, the flood, the massacres of innocents, the broken promises and the malign influence in human affairs.

    Good Friday – Man’s first steps to freedom and maturity.

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  70. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    While I am not religion person I find your comments to be deliberately offensive.

    You would be the first pinko to scream if anybody had a crack at Islam.

    Why not just fuck off and join your comrades at the Labour party and EPMU funded blog?

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  71. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Sorry, bigbruv, I wasn’t aware that it was illegal to give offense to religions. If you had been paying attention, you would know I hold all religions, Islam included, in contempt. Would you like one of my Tshirts with a crucified mahommed?

    So, how about YOU fuck off and not come back until you have a clue.

    As for me, I’ll go on celebrating the death of god and there is not a thing you can do about it..

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  72. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Both of you, shut up!

    Can’t you see?

    Don’t you understand?

    Haven’t you realised THAT YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER?!

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  73. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    For jack; sincerely.

    Our father
    who is in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    thy kingdom come
    thy will be done on earth
    as it is in heaven
    give us this day our daily bread
    forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    for yours is the kingdom the power and the glory
    now and forever
    AMEN

    My the Lord bless you and keep you
    may he protect you from the evil in your soul
    may your anger and hatred be cleansed from your heart
    and may He grant you peace in your time of need

    Shalom.

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  74. lofty (1,317 comments) says:

    Yes jack you are right, in that there is nothing anyone can do about your disrespect, only you know how impolite you are and the consequences of that.
    I am most certainly not a religous character, but i have always thought that a couple of the norms of our society are respect and tolerance of others.

    Jack you have out done yourself in showing us all here, the true nature of lefty thought…namely disrepect, non caring, and general impolitness, no wonder our youth of today are struggling to make sense of adulthood.

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  75. llew (1,533 comments) says:

    There was a time when the world bloody stopped at 4.30 on a Friday and if you hadn’t done your shopping during late night opening then you went bloody hungry.

    Used to be that supermarkets sold out of staples like bread, flour, sugar on the Thursday before Easter – you’d think they were to be closed for weeks rather than days. I’m wonder if that behaviour still exists to some degree?

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  76. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    Again, the argument is making no sense.

    1. We’re trying to make it about whether or not I can get a latte on Easter Friday. I don’t want a latte on Easter Friday, but I also don’t want the govt telling me I can’t. And much more importantly, if there are 50 people who want latte’s on Easter Friday, I don’t want the government telling me I can’t make money by selling them their lattes at $10 a pop just because nobody else feels like working. Capitalism – it’s a wonderful thing

    2. Religion is not a good argument. We don’t have a national religion, there is no reason to force people to observe a religious holiday for a religion they do not subscribe to. I’m all in favour of preserving the right of christians to have days off at Easter and Christmas if they so desire. I’d also like to preserve the right of other religions to have a day off on their holy days, and to work at Easter if that suits them better. I’m not sure how anyone in good conscience could object to that.

    3. The attempt to argue based on all the supposed bad employers who will disobey the law. The really funny bit is these arguments coming from the exact same people who supported the 90 day probation period on the basis that bad employers were few and far between, and who poo-poohed the Greens who claimed that we needed to make 90% of parents criminals to get at the 10% who didn’t obey the law. Apparently consistency in your political beliefs is no longer necessary, and it is entirely reasonable to just randomly take inconsistent positions. I dunno, someone told me once that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, but maybe I misheard.

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  77. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Well lofty, you have your views, and I have mine.

    I am tolerant, up to a point, but how do I (or anyone) tolerate the intollerable?

    Why does religion deserve respect? Why is religion, supposedly, out of bounds for comment, criticism or ridicule?

    Stop for a moment and think things through and you may relaise how stupid or deluded you are.

    Is it impolite for me to chastise a mother who drags her daughter around door knocking when the child should be playing? Then colour me impolite.

    Is it disrespectful to laugh at the stupidity of religion? Well, I doubt it, but colour me disrespectful if you wish. I would rather be disrespectful to religion than live my life in fear of myths.

    So suck it up. Man trumps god.

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  78. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Why does religion deserve respect? Why is religion, supposedly, out of bounds for comment, criticism or ridicule?

    It’s not the religion that deserves respect, it’s that people do, and some people believe in religions. The degree to which it is disrespectful or impolite to ridicule something is directly proportional to how much someone identifies with that thing. People often identify strongly with things like their religion, their family, their friends, their taste in music, their art, their country, etc. And so it is often impolite to ridicule those things in front of those people.

    It’s not out of bounds, just like ridiculing a woman’s facial hair is not out of bounds. It’s just impolite.

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  79. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    There was a time on Kiwiblog when people, discussed, disagreed and debated. Now its just a low class slanging match not entirely unlike our parliament.

    Obviously the inclused of paid green party hacks and associated indocrinated extreme lefties does nothing for either place.

    Congratulations genocide jack, you ARE the most obnoxious link.

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  80. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Oh Murray, you have such a sweet way with words.

    Grow up Murray, drag yourself into the 21C and become a Man.

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  81. James (1,338 comments) says:

    “Why does religion deserve respect? Why is religion, supposedly, out of bounds for comment, criticism or ridicule?”

    Well said….Religion like any other belief or idea must be open to examination and critisism….look at all the wrong nonsense that as been found in Christianity over the Centurys,slavery,murder,racism,sexism,hatred of gay etc.We are better off for having discovered it and adjusted ourselves based on the revelations.

    I respect peoples rights to hold their beliefs…while not always respecting the beliefs themselves.

    In this debate its the religious who are intruding into the rights of others to NOT to be compelled to observe certain beliefs of the religious….not the non religious violating them.

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  82. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Well said….Religion like any other belief or idea must be open to examination and critisism….

    There’s a difference between critique and ridicule.

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  83. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Yes, there is, but why should religion (or anything) be open to one but not the other? Sometimes the best critique IS ridicule. And yes Ryan, it may be offensive to some, but that is their issue. It is your choice to be offended or not.

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  84. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    The problem you (and all the other pinko’s) have is that you do not like what you cannot control.

    I am not in the least bit religious, I also happen to think it is a waste of time however I respect the views of those who do believe in a higher being as that is their right.

    Your naked hatred has more to do with religions traditional association with the right, therefore in your tiny, nasty fucked up mind you think they are fair game for ridicule and abuse, those of a religious mind are more likely to be against all that you stand for (the destruction of the traditional family unit and gay rights etc) and as we all know the left will never cease persecuting those who dare stand against them.

    Religion itself does not deserve respect but the people who put great faith in it DO, they are free to follow or worship whatever god they wish and you just have to deal with it.

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  85. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    There was a discussion several days ago around putting forward religion in to what are fundamentally secular issues (to most) and abusing religions in these posts. Interestingly, BB was initially insulting to religions but posted quite eloquently about over-reaction, no intention to be abusive but strongly stated his support of anyone to follow any religion they like but not to preach or attempt to insert religion into what are not religious issues (to most). That was reasoned and discussed. You might want to go back and read it.

    I am an atheist but don’t have the scorn you do of religions because of basic respect for other people. Ryan states it well. I admit I would occasionally like to slap the pope and various other religious figures when they say or do incredibly stupid things but I would also quite like to slap clark for the same reasons, I believe religions generally do not properly deliver to those who do believe and that religion is often used/abused for what are power and or political reasons. I also believe strongly in the separation of religion and state and that religion is a private affair and down to choice. So, I’m definitely not a believer or pro-religion.

    But all being abusive proves is your poor behaviour. Scott and the like don’t deserve this. Please grow up.

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  86. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    bigbruv, you know so little, and even less about me.

    I happen to like the idea of a family with a mother, father and however many children, I even was part of one myself.

    If a poofter wants to have sex with another poofter, that’s OK by me, as long as they keep it in house and don’t scare the horses. If they want to live together and share everything, that’s OK by me. If they want to get married, well I don’t agree with that. There’s two of your bubbles burst for you.

    Again, i have no problem with people following some idiotic idea like religion, but if they wish to bring it in to the public sphere then they must be prepared for ridicule and they must learn to deal with that.

    religions get far more than respect, far more than they deserve. They run businesses, but don’t pay tax. Are you OK with tha? I’m not. They are parastites, using the facilities taxes provide, but refusing to contribute. They expect exemptions from laws, simply because they are a “religion”. Why can’t a football club get the same exemptions?

    So big bruv, stop making excuses for religion and the religious, have the courage of your convictions and confront these bludgers and parasites at every opportunity.

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  87. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Yes, there is, but why should religion (or anything) be open to one but not the other? Sometimes the best critique IS ridicule. And yes Ryan, it may be offensive to some, but that is their issue. It is your choice to be offended or not.

    Some people don’t realise that it’s their choice whether or not to be offended, and by not realising, it’s not their choice.

    And sometimes people can try to justify attempts to cause suffering with noble causes of ridicule being the best critique.

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  88. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    slijmbal, when you say “I am an atheist…” you are allowing yourself to be identified by the religious in their terms.

    I am most assuredly NOT an atheist. I will not allow myself to be defined in religious terms.

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  89. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    “Some people don’t realise that it’s their choice whether or not to be offended, and by not realising, it’s not their choice.”

    Perhaps these are the people whose growth and education has been most stunted by religion. Perhaps it is why the illeducated Musselmen respond so violently to any perceived slight to their religion. But that is the problem of the religion and its followers; it is not a reason why i should not continue to ridicule Islam, or any other religion.

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  90. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    Eventually one gets the feeling that appealing to your nature is a waste of time, one also gets the feeling that reasoned arguments wash over you such is your desperate desire to control others.

    So I will not waste any more words on you when it comes to respect for other peoples beliefs other than to tell you that you have proven yourself to be a small minded bigot.

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  91. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Perhaps these are the people whose growth and education has been most stunted by religion. Perhaps it is why the illeducated Musselmen respond so violently to any perceived slight to their religion. But that is the problem of the religion and its followers; it is not a reason why i should not continue to ridicule Islam, or any other religion.

    It is if the following things are true.

    1. You don’t believe they enjoy being offended.
    2. You don’t want to cause suffering without some more constructive purpose.
    3. There are more constructive alternatives to mockery, ridicule and offence in opening people’s minds.
    4. You consider opening people’s minds a constructive purpose.

    And you seem to have claimed something approximating all four of these, though I could be mistaken.

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  92. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Is that a marriage proposal?

    Why, with Murray and now you, I feel all overcome.

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  93. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    slijmbal, when you say “I am an atheist…” you are allowing yourself to be identified by the religious in their terms

    No I don’t. I define myself in those terms – there is no god, there is no 1st cause, there is no requirement for the universe to be created – I have made a concrete and specific decision and there happens to be a term that describes it.

    I have significant problems with religions some examples of which you stated earlier eg there is no justification for their tax free status.

    What is clear is that you don’t understand the difference between being insulting and debate – but you are a troll. You now join greenfly as someone to whom I will no longer respond to you directly as it will only encourage you.

    byeeee.

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  94. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    No I don’t. I define myself in those terms – there is no god, there is no 1st cause, there is no requirement for the universe to be created – I have made a concrete and specific decision and there happens to be a term that describes it.

    Could easily be restated as there is no easter bunny, there is no requirement for there to be an easter bunny – I have made a concrete and specific decision and there happens to be a term that describes it.

    except, what is the term for someone who doesn’t believe in the easter bunny? Or Santa? Or fairies?

    Just as maori actually had no word “maori” until the arrival of whitemen, there was no need for the word atheist until the religious discovered a need for it.

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  95. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    big bruv – accept that MNIJ has taken us there, but it is going off topic.

    Yes, any person’s beliefs deserve some respect, because if nothing else it is rude to ridicule someone’s sincerely held beliefs to their face. It feels easier to do it on the internet, but you wouldn’t do it to their face – anyone would feel rude doing that.

    That is different from forcing other people to observe their beliefs. I entirely agree that we shouldn’t force any Christian to work on their holy days. I also think that we shouldn’t force other people with strongly held beliefs to work on their holy days – within limits (so I probably shouldn’t create a religion that believes in only working 2 days a year, and expect that to be respected). But we shouldn’t force, for example, Buddhists to observe Christian holidays if they don’t want to.

    That is the gap that people seem to be missing. This isn’t a debate about whether people should have the right to not work at Easter. People should have that right.

    This is a debate about whether people have a right to choose to work at Easter if they want to. Perhaps because they aren’t Christians, perhaps because they would rather have triple time for working on that day, perhaps because they want that holiday at a different time in the year.

    We should only use the coercive power of the state where there is clear justification to do so. It isn’t clear to me that there is some clear harm that would come if someone chooses to work at Easter. As such I don’t understand why the government would exercise coercive powers to stop someone working. To exercise that coercive power I would want to see harm to individual, harm to others, or harm to society at large. Taking each in turn:
    – harm to individual. I don’t see that we could really claim that someone working at Easter would be harm to that person. If they are a Buddhist, and choosing to have a holiday at some other time of the year, then I simply don’t see any harm in them working – in fact, it is probably benefit
    – harm to others. Some people might be offended, but that is all I can see. That isn’t real harm in my book, at least not harm that justifies the coercive powers of the state
    – harm to society at large. This is probably the only halfway decent argument, and then only if you accept that NZ should be aspiring to be some sort of 50s utopia where mum stays at home and minds the kids, and dad goes off to work. And at Easter we all go to church and then play cricket in the streets. I just don’t think that is a reflection of where we are as a society, and to my mind, even somewhere that we want to be as a country.

    In short, I haven’t seen a coherent argument that justifies the existence of these laws.

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  96. fishe (166 comments) says:

    MNIJ: while I generally agree with your worldview (I think)…you seem to be going about communicating it the wrong way. An immature way imo.

    Saying things like God is Dead and Man trumps God etc. is all very nice and powerfully poetic, but it’s also ridiculously confrontational. Regardless of the validity of the Other’s (the philosophical Other (as opposed to the Self)) ideas one should strive to maintain civility and open debate. This is an area Mr Dawkins sometimes strays too far away from.

    If one doesn’t follow this path of civility there is no hope of change, only hurt and movement to the extremes.

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  97. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    I actually think of religion as been a ritualised form of politeness towards the universe, those things outside of our control.

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  98. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    as been = as being

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  99. fishe (166 comments) says:

    politeness might be a bit of stretch? :) How about just “explanation of” ?

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  100. fishe (166 comments) says:

    and the past tense “been” wasn’t a Freudian slip? ;)

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  101. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Nah, the explanatory stuff is “god of the gaps” stuff that finds itself beating its head against the wall of concrete science.

    I mean, look at the rituals present in all major religions. They express politeness: please, sorry, thank you.

    Praying for things that are outside of your control: please.
    Confessing/asking for forgiveness when there’s no one you can apologise to: sorry.
    Celebratory festivals, appreciating things that are outside of our control: thank you.

    All the big religions have these things. They express something common to most people.

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  102. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    Nah, the explanatory stuff is “god of the gaps” stuff that finds itself beating its head against the wall of concrete science.

    Religion and science aren’t in opposition, they are perfectly compatible.

    Those who argue they are in opposition often have a vested interest disguised as an intellectual conviction, in the outcome. (And it’s hardly ever a material vested interest, it’s usually a subjective vested interest that features in these debates.)

    If you want some additional angle then look at what scientists who believe in God, say about the subject. (I recommend the latter link’s article on creationism vs age of the Earth, for example).

    If you want to understand this subject then I don’t recommend you read books by religious people who then try to lay out scientific arguments, because it’s simply not their field. Such authors use theological structures to present a scientific argument because that’s what they’re trained to do, and consequently many people think what they say is bollocks.

    I agree with that assessment, based on my readings thus far. However, I’ve found the authors that use scientific structures to present a theological argument, to be far more illuminating.

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  103. lofty (1,317 comments) says:

    My name is jack says “So suck it up. Man trumps god.”
    Oh dear jack you really are showing us all your true left thinking here aren’t you?
    What you are saying to me is.. you wont acknowledge that there is a God yet you consider if there is, you are much better than him/her.
    Ah!! Helens legacy and that of the liarbour party remains.
    you have just foisted by your own petard jack. You are too easy.
    Oh by the way don’t presume to give me instructions by telling me to “suck it up”, you really are not God jack.

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  104. greenjacket (486 comments) says:

    Scott wrote:
    “Once again for those perturbed that you cannot get your cappuccino on Good Friday, remember these are the most sacred days in the Christian calendar. It would be in my view tolerant and enlightened of you to respect those days rather than continually moaning that the shops are shut for two days of the year.”

    Hey Scott – I don’t respect your religion OK – mainly because you are stopping me from enjoying my normal life. I had to stand in a friggin long que in a supermaket this evening stocking up on milk and bread and nappies for my family because I can’t go out for shopping. So screw your religion. You talk about “tolerant and enlightened” – I’m the one whose freedom is being denied by your religious observance!

    How would you feel if there was an atheist holiday in which you had to take two days off work in the middle of an important project due, and you weren’t allowed to shop and most of the things that keep the kids busy are closed. You’d be pretty friggin pissed off, wouldn’t you?

    “So you are free to do pretty much what you like.”

    No – that’s the whole point. I can’t work, I can’t shop for things like nappies and cleaners, I can’t go to the hardware store so I can do work on the house, and I can’t take my kids to the zoo or wherever. You support a law that infringes upon my freedom.

    “You may not believe it but I appeal to your much vaunted liberal tolerance to respect it.”

    So let’s get this right: you support a law that infringes on my freedom – and then you demand that I respect your religion?
    mmmm Let me see – NO.

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  105. reid (16,634 comments) says:

    “in which you had to take two days off work in the middle of an important project due”

    Had to? Who’s forcing you, greenjacket?

    Hope you’re not the PM. What’s the matter? Didn’t you realise the Easter break was in mid-April this year? Was it all a big surprise?

    Sounds more like the PM didn’t know what they were doing. Suggest you get a new one.

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