Easter trad­ing up for de­bate

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

Cen­tral Otago re­tail busi­nesses could open on Easter Sun­day this year, if the coun­cil ac­cepts a rec­om­men­da­tion to al­low it.

A re­port by coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal team leader Ray Ap­ple­garth rec­om­mend­ing ‘‘all shops’’ in the district have the op­por­tu­nity to open will be con­sid­ered at a Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil meet­ing to­day.

Easter Sun­day trad­ing has long been a thorn in the side of busi­nesses that - with the ex­cep­tion of some ser­vice sec­tor busi­nesses - have to close on a day when the ma­jor­ity of New Zealan­ders have a day off work.

How­ever, the Shop Trad­ing Hours Amend­ment Act 2016 gives lo­cal au­thor­i­ties the power to cre­ate a pol­icy that al­lows Easter Sun­day trad­ing.

Cromwell Busi­ness Net­work spokesman Glen Chris­tiansen said it would be ‘‘a step in the right di­rec­tion’’.

It would be ‘‘fan­tas­tic’’ if busi­nesses could open on one of the busiest vis­i­tor days of the year, he said.

‘‘You now don’t pe­nalise the busi­nesses that want to be open.’’

Alexan­dra Clyde Busi­ness Group Com­mit­tee chair­man Barry Ham­ble­ton said most mem­bers sup­ported busi­nesses open­ing.

‘‘The most im­por­tant thing is, we’re a tourist town.

‘‘If you’re closed, you can’t sell any­thing.’’

The coun­cil re­port says ac­cept­ing the rec­om­men­da­tion would al­low ‘‘tourists and lo­cals to ac­cess shops which would or­di­nar­ily be closed’’.

Dis­ad­van­tages of Easter Sun­day trad­ing noted were that it would go against some re­li­gious be­liefs and those who felt it was a ‘‘good op­por­tu­nity for fam­ily time’’.

A draft pol­icy was put out for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on Novem­ber 19 and seven sub­mis­sions were re­ceived, five of those in favour of Easter Sun­day trad­ing.

In a sub­mis­sion, Daniel and Shona Rae said the town was ‘‘burst­ing at the seams’’ over Easter and peo­ple needed to have ac­cess to shops and ac­tiv­i­ties.

Gaye Gard­ner sub­mit­ted against the pol­icy, say­ing Easter Sun­day was a holy day for Chris­tians.

‘‘Ev­ery­one should have the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend a church ser­vice, but also there are so few days when the fam­ily can en­joy a day to­gether.’’

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