Kāpiti has say on Easter Trading

Kāpiti Council is asking the community to express their views on an Easter Sunday Trading policy for Kāpiti.

Earlier this week the Hamilton City Council ruled out shopping on Easter Sunday. The city council had proposed to let retailers choose whether or not they opened. However, 71 per cent of the people who submitted to council didn’t want that to happen.

At Thursday’s meeting, Hamilton City councillors voted 8-3 to throw the idea out. Many were concerned about the loss of family time and also about workers’ rights.

At the Kāpiti Strategy and Planning Committee’s 20 July meeting, councillors considered the overall policy work programme for the coming months. Among its priorities, Council will investigate and consult on a local district policy for Easter Sunday trading, which is a new option for local bodies under recent changes to the Shop Trading Hours Act.

If a policy is adopted, local businesses could make their own decision to open or not on Easter Sunday. Certain specified businesses, like dairies and petrol stations, are already able to trade if they wish under the existing legislation.

Group Manager, Strategy and Planning, Sarah Stevenson says Council receives inquiries on this topic from a range of viewpoints, including business, families, churches and the wider community.

“To give the community certainty and be able to be part of a decision about whether trading on Easter Sunday should be enabled, Council has agreed to draft and consult on a Kāpiti policy.

“This work will be about Council responding to a community debate and contributes to two of its strategic outcomes a thriving economy and democracy through community participation.”

Mayor K Gurunathan said he expected the public consultation in Kāpiti to reflect the same divisions as other communities, such as Porirua, where an Easter Sunday opening policy has already been debated. Consultation on a draft policy will probably start in the next few months, followed by a submission and Council hearing process.

More details on the process will be shared with the community early next month. Further information and advice from central government agencies on trading rules is available through the Council website.

Prior to the last election 78% of local council candidates around the country supported the introduction of a local Shop Trading Hours policy to allow shops to open on Easter Sunday, according to a survey by Retail NZ.

Spokesperson for Retail NZ Greg Harford says, “not every retailer will want to open on Easter Sunday, and not everyone will want to shop, but we have long been of the view that it is the role of neither Government nor Councils to seek to regulate shopping between consenting adults.”

Mr Harford 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.”