No conscience vote for Nats on shop trading hours

On Thursday the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill was passed by the New Zealand Parliament with a vote of 62 to 59 after an “insult laden debate”

There have been numerous attempts to change the hours that shops can open for business on public holidays. Until this Thursday, all have failed to make it into the law books.

In 2009 National MPs were allowed a conscience vote on a nearly identical bill. It failed to become law.

This time round National MPs had been told to vote in favour of changes to Easter trading laws, despite some of them being opposed to it.

The prime minister John Key said a conscience vote wasn’t necessary. He said it was not a matter of conscience because local councils and not Parliament would have the final say on trading hours.

Deputy  prime minister Bill English said he was “generally opposed” to trading on Easter Sunday, but was happy to vote for the current bill.

“Our caucus had a discussion and decided to vote for this measure together. I’m quite happy with that.”

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows said he had used conscience votes in the past to oppose Easter trading, but was happy to support the current bill.

“You talk to places like Wanaka and Rotorua, they would like to be able to make that decision locally because it affects them directly through tourism.”

Family First had joined former All Black Michael Jones in encouraging National MPs to buck their party’s line and vote down

First Union wanted the Government to withdraw the Bill and convene a cross-sector working group to develop Easter trading laws the country can agree on.


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News category: New Zealand.