Easter Sunday trading changes
Businesses in the Far North can now legally open on Easter Sunday following the adoption of a new bylaw.
The Far North District Council has adopted the bylaw to allow trading after local governments were given the power to control trading on this holiday from central government.
In the Far North only businesses operating in the tourist hub of Paihia were legally allowed to open, prior to the introduction of the bylaw.
The council received 24 submissions, out of 46, opposing trading on Easter Sunday, with the majority concerned that shop staff would lose one of their last remaining guaranteed days off work.
Kawakawa Business Association chairperson Malcolm Francis says Easter Sunday should remain a guaranteed day off for staff.
‘‘It’s a religious day and it should stay that way.’’
He says for small businesses in the area it would be unaffordable to open on Easter Sunday.
Elaines Kitchen owner operator Elaine Subritzky says she is a Christian and wants to honour her faith by not opening on Easter Sunday.
She says she doesn’t have a negative opinion on those who choose to open but she says it is important that people also spend time with family and friends.
Subritzky says she would have to triple her turnover to cover the staff costs on public holidays.
Kerikeri Business Association chairperson Jason Vokes says the organisation put in a submission in support of businesses being allowed to trade.
‘‘It is significant for businesses because they can operate without fear of being fined.’’
He says it might take a while for customers to get used to Kerikeri businesses being open, but it is ‘‘about time’’ they are able to open on Easter Sunday.
Before the bylaw was introduced, owners could be liable for a $1000 fine for operating.
Employers must provide at least four weeks’ notice to staff of their intention to open. The Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act also protects workers who choose not to work on Easter Sunday.
Shops must still close on Christmas Day, Good Friday and until 1.00pm on ANZAC Day, with some exceptions for dairies, service stations and pharmacies.
Kawakawa Business Association’s Malcolm Francis says Easter Sunday should remain a day off.