Saner Easter Sunday trading law coming

Michael Woodhouse has announced:

The Government is to enable local communities, through councils, to decide whether retailers can open on Sunday, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse announced today.

“The current rules around shop trading over the Easter period are complex and relatively arbitrary. The law allows certain shops selling specific items to remain open, while others must close their doors.

“It also includes several historical exemptions which allow shops in areas such as Queenstown and Taupo to open on Easter Sunday, while those in Wanaka and Rotorua cannot.”

“The result is that some businesses and regions have an unfair advantage over others, and there is a demand from communities across the country to allow for shop trading on Easter Sunday.

“The proposed law change will enable communities to choose whether or not to allow trading. It will mean regions, especially tourist areas, can respond where there is strong demand for Easter Sunday trading,” Mr Woodhouse says.

The current law is a nonsense. Sadly all attempts at reform by members’ bills have failed due to an unholy collusion between unions and churches. So very pleased to see the Government taking action, to improve the ridiculous status quo.

“In addition, the law change will give workers the opportunity to decline to work or accept work if they wish to on that day – with no reason necessary.

And this I support. It is about allowing workers to earn extra money – if they wish to do so, and retailers to open if they want to do so, and shoppers to shop if they wish to do so. But no one is forced to do anything.

Only changes to Easter Sunday are being proposed. Mr Woodhouse says this reflects the added religious and cultural significance attached to Good Friday, Anzac Day and Christmas, that remain subject to restrictions.

A step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

For Easter, we should allow trading on all four Easter days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter (Sunday) and Easter Monday. But I’d also have all four as public holidays which they attract penal rates, and also that any employee can decline to work on those days. That would actually give employees more flexibility (they currently have to work Holy Saturday and Easter Monday if asked) and more pay (penal rates would apply for all four days, not just Good Friday and Easter Monday). So this would benefit employees, but also benefit retailers who could open for the whole long weekend – if they wanted to.

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