Easter Trading bill will be no good for families, workers

Easter Trading

NZ Catholic Bishop Steve Lowe (pictured) is dismayed Easter trading – and the current ban on it – is up for change.

He’s concerned about the ACT Party’s Easter Trading bill, which was drawn in a ballot just before Easter.

“I guess when I read about this, I groaned. I thought: ‘Here we go again’. It’s coming up every year, it’s coming up every holiday break, but often what we’re forgetting about is people and families.”

CathNews has learnt that Catholic churches around the country were well attended, with many reporting a ‘Standing Room Only’ situation.

The bill

ACT MP Cameron Luxton’s bill seeks to remove restrictions on laws surrounding trading and selling alcohol on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

As described, the current rules seem complicated, with complete bans, some exceptions and local council rules crowding the rule books.

Profits before people

Unions aren’t happy with the changes the bill is proposing.

Like Lowe, First Union spokesperson Rudd Hughes is concerned about the people who will be affected by a change in law.

A law change would mean workers lose two of the three-and-a-half days they’re currently guaranteed to have off. At present they get Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and the morning of ANZAC Day off, he says.

“It’s another attack by this current Government on workers” Hughes says.

“The only thing they seem to hold sacrosanct is the pursuit of profit over the welfare of people.”

Positive change

A Tauranga business that normally benefits from exemptions to trade says a more uniform approach is needed across the country.

“I just think simplicity, it’d be good for traders to have the option” café owner Hamish Carter says.

Others agree and say they’d like people to have a choice about what they do.

Luxton’s thinking

Luxton sees his bill as contributing to ACT’s campaign against needless and costly legislation.

“My Member’s Bill will remove a burden on businesses by relieving the dumb restrictions on trading on Good Friday and Easter Sunday” he says.

“It just doesn’t make sense that bar staff spend much of Easter telling customers when they can drink, how long they have to drink it, how much they are required to eat, and what they have to eat.

“How about we start treating adults like adults?

“It’s quite simple — if you want to trade, you can.

“That’s how a free society should operate.

“The Bill also looks after workers as it retains the existing employee protections that apply in respect of Easter Sunday and extends these protections to Good Friday.”

It would amend the Shop Trading Hours Act to extend employee protections currently in place on Easter Sunday, such as the right to refuse work, to Good Friday as well.


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