Easter Trading- Should we allow shops to trade on Easter Sunday?

In August 2016 the Shop Trading Amendment Act 2016, came into effect giving Councils the power to decide whether shops in all or part of their district could trade on Easter Sunday from 2018.

At present some areas are allowed to trade over Easter while others are not. This creates variability which is potentially unfair, prescriptive and allows for lack of transparency on variation decisions.

I don’t believe Councillors should determine Easter trading rules without asking Aucklanders for their opinion. To that end I spoke in favour of council’s resolution to:

“…approve community engagement on whether to:

i)   retain the status quo so that only shops currently able to trade on Easter Sunday will continue to be able to do so, or

ii)  adopt a policy that will allow shops in all or parts of Auckland to trade on Easter Sunday from 2018.”

Easter means different things to different people. For some it is valuable family time, others it has strong Christian meaning, others see it as a holiday; one of only three and a half days a year some workers have (the others are Christmas Day, Good Friday and the morning of Anzac day). For others it is an opportunity for a busy day of trading.

The act protects the individual choice of shop workers and so that they can refuse to work on Easter Sunday and can bring a personal grievance if they are compelled to work or treated adversely for their choice. The Act also states that Councils cannot require shops to be open so on an individual and business level, freedom to observe Easter or spend time away from work is protected.

Consultation will start in April 2017 with a report on findings brought back to Councillors in August 2017 for a decision on whether to retain the status quo or adopt a policy.

Look out for the community engagement which will start in April. I will update via our residents associations.