At loggerheads over Saturday trading
Reporter Rexine Hawes turns back the pages of the Matamata Chronicle to a story debating Matamata’s store trading hours for our Back in the Day series.
In our present day it’s quite normal for stores to be open seven days a week, however looking back through the archives to 1980, whether or not stores should include Saturday trading was a hot community topic.
In August 1980, the Matamata District Chronicle reported on a public meeting held to discuss Saturday trading. The meeting included the late Jack Luxton, MP for the Matamata electorate.
Luxton was quoted in the front page article as saying ‘‘people believe there are going to be tremendous changes but they are anticipating something that is never going to happen’’.
He said in 1977 he chaired a commission looking into shop trading hours, and he said they introduced ‘‘something’’ allowing retailers flexibility to open between 7am and 9pm without restrictions.
‘‘It was said then that when one opened, the others will follow suit, but that didn’t happen,’’ the article quoted.
It was reported however that the majority of 31 other people at the meeting disagreed with him.
A resolution was passed at the meeting which stated members of parliament to vote against the bill to extend store trading hours and to vote to withdraw the bill to discuss it any further.
John Shennan, field officer for the Shop Employees Union, produced a petition with 314 signatures opposing the legislation. He said a small group of retailers were in support of the bill and they were ‘‘in dire economic straits who see a profit in extended hours’’.
He stated concerns over weekends being commercialised to the detriment of society and an affect on family life and sport.
One unnamed retailer We would love to hear your thoughts on this. Were you a retailer during this time and did you support the bill, what were your reasons? Email: email@example.com suggested he believed Saturday trading hours would help Matamata ‘‘boom’’, pointing to tourists passing through on Saturdays.
Others against the bill suggested it would interfere with their way of life and they would be forced to open by competition from retailers both in and out of town.
Luxton had the final say in the article saying in the end it was the consumer who would dictate whether shops opened on Saturday or not.
‘‘If retailers are not making money, they won’t open and I believe that the pattern that has been part and parcel of this area will not change.’’
A section of the Matamata District Chronicle from August, 1980, showing the deabte on weekend shopping hours.