Bay News column

Thursday, September 17, 2015

In the last couple of weeks I have received feedback from constituents on the Government’s announcement regarding changes to Easter trading laws. A number of people said that we were “pushing through changes without consulting the public.” This isn’t correct, so I thought I would take this opportunity to explain what these changes will mean for retailers and shoppers.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse announced that local communities, through councils, would be able to decide whether retailers can open on Easter Sunday. The current laws are complex and not equally applied across the country, which leads to confusion for retailers and shoppers, especially tourists. For example, a hairdresser is allowed to be open and cut hair, but is not allowed to sell any products. Taupo has an exemption as a tourist area, but Rotorua and Tauranga do not.

The Government has decided that each area should be able to determine for themselves whether or not they want shops to open on Easter Sunday. Importantly, the law change will also ensure that retail workers will be able to decline to work on Easter Sunday, with no reason necessary, so they can enjoy the long Easter break if they wish.

This change only affects Easter Sunday – the current restrictions will still apply for Good Friday, Christmas Day and ANZAC Day.

This change will be introduced in Parliament shortly and the effects of the law change will depend what local communities decide. Any changes would likely begin from Easter 2017. I look forward to further discussions on this matter as we work to determine what will be in the best interests for Tauranga.