Photo by Henry Burrows.

Nelson council the minority in easter trading debate

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According to a Retail NZ survey, 78 per cent of New Zealand council candidates support a move to allow shops to open on Easter Sunday but majority of Nelson’s candidates weren’t among them.

“Under new legislation, Councils are able to decide whether to allow residents and visitors the choice to go to the shops on Easter Sunday, or to continue current outdated legislation that seeks to ban shopping,” says Retail NZ’s General Manager for Public Affairs Greg Harford.

“We know that some customers will not want to shop on Easter Sunday, and some retailers won’t want to open – but it’s great to see that so many Council candidates are in favor of a permissive approach.”

The survey showed strong opposition to Easter Trading in Carterton and the Far North District, but Lower Hutt and Nelson were the only cities where the majority of candidates told us they were opposed to shops opening.

Strong support for allowing shops to choose to open on Easter Sunday was found in Rotorua-Lakes, Marlborough, New Plymouth, Queenstown-Lakes, South Waikato, Tasman, Timaru, Thames-Coromandel, Waimakariri, Western Bay of Plenty and Asbhurton Districts, as well as Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga Cities.

While Christchurch, Dunedin and Palmerston North were evenly split.

Retail NZ predicts that, after the local elections, new councils will move swiftly to consider this issue.

Greg added that the rights of retail employees and small businesses are well protected under recent amendments to the Shop Trading Hours Act.

“No employee can be forced to work on Easter Sunday, and no business can be forced to open, even if they are located in a shopping mall.”