The New Zealand Parliament has rejected legislation to allow Easter trading for the 11th time.
10 bills have been put up by National members and one by Labour.
The present bill was sponsored by National MP for Waitaki Jacqui Dean and proposed allowing shops to open over Easter in Waitaki and Wanaka. It was voted down by 49 votes to 70 on Wednesday evening.
Dean says she will continue the fight to allow businesses in the electorate to trade at Easter, despite her latest attempt being defeated.
Votes on Easter are made by conscience vote.
Labour’s industrial relations spokeswoman Darien Fenton said that central to the issue was workers’ right to enjoy time off with family, which was only guaranteed three-and-a-half days a year: Easter Friday and Sunday, Christmas Day and half of Anzac Day.
She said ,”There isn’t any way you can stop workers being forced to work.” It was “just crazy” that National kept trying to push the issue. “Give it up.”
Fenton acknowledged the law around Easter trading was “very messy” because it allowed some gardening centres to open and shops got fined every year for breaking the law.
First Union retail secretary Maxine Gay said New Zealand didn’t need Easter trading.
“New Zealanders can shop on 361-and-a-half days a year, and on 51 of 52 Sundays of the year, and most shop workers could be required to work on any of these days.”