Easter trade ban change voted down

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - HAMISH MA­CLEAN hamish.ma­clean@odt.co.nz

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.

Me­lanie Taven­dale

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