Govt Softens Easter Trading Laws As Pay-Back

Media Release 6 June 2013
Family First NZ believes that the National government wants to liberalise Easter trading laws as a pay-back for the ‘Mondayisation’ bill which was passed in April.

“Families throughout NZ take time out for family holidays, camps, reunions, Easter church events, cultural and recreational events over Easter weekends. Even politicians take a Parliamentary Recess during this period. Kiwis employed in the retail industry should also be able to enjoy the public holidays and extended weekend,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“We agree with the Prime Minister that the law is a ‘dog’s breakfast’ and needs to be consistent and fair, but liberalising the law is not the answer. This is also not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers, they don’t have the luxury of choice as to whether they work or not.”

“A Research NZ poll in 2010 found 61% support for retaining Easter trading restrictions. And poll after poll has shown that both parents and children want to spend more time together doing family things like picnics and holidays together. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as the retail industry is required to work almost every day of the year, and shoppers focus on the holiday specials.”

“Public holidays are traditions. They create rituals for families, not based on shopping but on celebrating together, reconnecting, and making memories.”

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in “The Politics of Hope” said “Public parks make no economic sense at all. We leave a whole lot of space unbuilt on and not capitalised in any way, but that is not the reason we have them. We have parks because they do us good…. They do not make economic sense but they do us good.”

“Tourists will cope,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Many countries have public holidays with shops closed, and tourists simply plan around it, accepting it as part of the local culture and identity. This includes a Friday in any Islamic country, Saturdays in Israel, many Sundays in part of the Netherlands; Sundays in Germany, Zimbabwe, and Pacific neighbours like Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, and limited shopping in large stores in the UK on Sundays.”

“The government should give the workers a break.”