Scrap Easter Sun­day?

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PASLEY

Em­ploy­ees in Auck­land may have to work on Easter Sun­day from next year.

Last week Auck­land Coun­cil ap­proved the first step of what could lead to chang­ing pol­icy about work­ing on Easter Sun­day from 2018.

From April coun­cil will en­gage with com­mu­ni­ties to help de­cide whether to re­tain the cur­rent rules of no Easter Sun­day trad­ing or al­low­ing Auck­land re­tail­ers to open.

The de­ci­sion came af­ter amend­ments to the Shop Trad­ing Hours Act 1990 were made last year, putting the onus on coun­cils na­tion­wide to de­cide whether re­tail­ers could open on Easter Sun­day.

Pre­vi­ously shops could open ev­ery day of the year ex­cept Good Fri­day, Easter Sun­day, Christ­mas Day and An­zac morn­ing.

The Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment’s web­site said if change was adopted all shop em­ploy­ees would be able to refuse to work on Easter Sun­day with­out any reper­cus­sions.

There are no plans to change trad­ing laws for Good Fri­day.

First Union re­tail and fi­nance sec­re­tary Max­ine Gay said the union was dis­ap­pointed coun­cil was go­ing through with the con­sul­ta­tion.

‘‘We’re field­ing dozens of calls from our mem­bers who are wor­ried about what this means for their Easter Sun­day plans,’’ Gay said.

‘‘The re­al­ity is lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties aren’t call­ing for Easter trad­ing changes in Auck­land, there are no me­dia cam­paigns, and a num­ber of busi­nesses are half-hearted about it. There’s sim­ply no ap­petite for change.’’

Mayor Phil Goff said he wanted to hear what com­mu­ni­ties had to say about Easter Sun­day trad­ing.

How­ever, he ques­tioned the need for busi­nesses to open on Easter Sun­day.

‘‘It’s not sim­ply about re­li­gious ob­ser­vance. Three and a half days a year for fam­ily time, is that ask­ing too much?’’ Goff said.

Coun­cil­lors Efeso Collins, Richard Hills and John Wat­son were against chang­ing the pol­icy.

Collins said al­low­ing peo­ple to work on ‘‘res­ur­rec­tion Sun­day’’ would have a huge im­pact on fam­i­lies.

In Au­gust the find­ings will be re­ported to coun­cil. Coun­cil will then de­cide if it will be­gin spe­cial con­sul­ta­tion about al­low­ing re­tail­ers to open in 2018. Brand new con­struc­tion with two bed­rooms, two bath­rooms and dou­ble gram­mar zone.

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