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.

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place -

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: rexine.hawes@fair­fax­me­ 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.

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