Easter trade ban change voted down
EASTER Sunday trading restrictions will remain in place in the Waitaki district despite a lastditch appeal from the Waitaki Tourism Association to allow more shops to open.
Waitaki District Councillor Melanie Tavendale said the council’s public consultation last month showed ‘‘overwhelming support’’ for maintaining the status quo and it was important for the council to show it respected the consultation process: it was openminded and listened to the public.
She said the council was aware that whatever decision it made at yesterday’s extraordinary council meeting it would be unpopular with some in the district.
Some would complain about a lack of change, but ‘‘I think it’s really hard to go the other way’’.
‘‘If they want to see a change, they need to engage,’’ she said.
‘‘We’re certainly not by any stretch closed for business.’’
Only Cr Bill Kingan voted against retaining the status quo yesterday.
Cr Colin Wollstein sent apologies, Cr Craig Dawson declared a conflict of interest, and left the room for the discussion and the vote, and Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher abstained from the decisionmaking as he was not present for the submissions hearings on November 1.
The Waitaki District Council draft Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy 2017 drew 150 submissions before they closed on October 18.
Council documents state about 73% were against the proposal to change the status quo and 27% of submissions favoured allowing shops to trade on Easter Sunday.
Cr Kingan said many of the 73% who submitted in favour of retaining the status quo offered ‘‘very little supporting information’’. Submissions were often simply ‘‘a name in the box and a tick’’.
He wanted to support the opportunity for businesses to remain and said the ‘‘late submission’’ from Waitaki Tourism Association chairman James Glucksman, one of the two business owners who had formally approached the council asking for a change, should be taken into account.
In an email to councillors, and council chief executive Fergus Power, dated November 2, Mr Glucksman said after the Otago Daily Times reported the council’s review of submissions, the association wanted to reiterate the group, representing more than 70 tourismrelated businesses, strongly supported relaxed rules for the district.
Mr Kircher said as an exretailer his personal preference was for businesses’ ‘‘freedom to choose’’, but due to councillors’ reactions, submitters’ arguments must have been ‘‘telling and convincing’’.
Whatever decision the council made it would not stop ‘‘farmers going out and farming and contractors going out and contracting. Those people carry on and there is a bit of a double standard there,’’ he said.
After yesterday’s meeting he said the council, which decided in August to fasttrack the consultation process, had the process right and residents had ‘‘every opportunity to make a submission’’.
But he said Easter Sunday trading was a ‘‘very polarising’’ issue and he expected the council to be asked to revisit the issue.