Tasman District and Nelson City councils will be discussing Easter trading policy.

Easter trading policy on agendas

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The future of Easter trading is likely to be put out to public consultation after surveys conducted by the Tasman District and Nelson City council’s produced indecisive results.

The Shop Trading Hours Act now enables councils to determine whether retailers in their district can open for business on Easter Sunday. The online and telephone surveys undertaken by the two councils indicate that the community is divided as to whether Easter Sunday trading should be permitted in the Nelson-Tasman.

A random telephone survey of 595 residents conducted by an independent consultant between November 10 and November 17  showed that 55 per cent were in support of Easter trading while 45 per cent were opposed. An online survey conducted between October 31 to November 17 November attracted 1421 responses and showed that 62 per cent were opposed to Easter trading and 38 percent were in favour.

Respondents who favoured Easter trading made a number of comments including saying that it would produce a stronger local economy, benefit travellers and locals who enjoy shopping and modernise trading laws. In contrast, respondents who did not support the change stated that Easter Sunday was important family time that should not be compromised.

The surveys also showed that if a policy is adopted, there is strong support for a joint Nelson-Tasman policy. The Tasman District Council is considering the policy on Thursday while the Nelson City Council will consider this issue at their meeting on December 15.

The two councils are expected to release a draft policy for public consultation either this year from December 16 to February 7 if the policy is to be implemented in 2017 or May next year if the policy is to be implemented in 2018.