Horowhenua gets all-clear for Easter trad­ing

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - JA­NINE RANKIN

Horowhenua shop own­ers can choose to open for busi­ness this Easter Sun­day, de­spite strong and vo­cal op­po­si­tion to the move.

Last week, the dis­trict coun­cil adopted its lo­cal shop trad­ing pol­icy al­low­ing the change.

The move runs counter to an ear­lier sur­vey the coun­cil ran, in which 56 per cent of the 169 peo­ple who re­sponded were op­posed to Easter Sun­day trad­ing.

Dur­ing pub­lic sub­mis­sions, only 10 of 25 peo­ple or groups were in favour.

The coun­cil’s hear­ing com­mit­tee met to con­sider the change in Novem­ber, when it heard from three of the sub­mit­ters, two in favour and one against.

Speak­ing as a Levin re­tailer, coun­cil­lor Bernie Wan­den had said it should be up to busi­ness own­ers to de­cide whether or not to open, and bar­ri­ers to trade should be re­moved.

The Waitarere Pro­gres­sive As­so­ci­a­tion also sup­ported the change. Spokes­woman Sharon Free­bairn said Waitarere Beach was a tourist des­ti­na­tion and the small com­mu­nity was de­pen­dent on vis­i­tors to boost its econ­omy.

She said most busi­ness own­ers wanted to have the choice to open and en­sure that vis­i­tors en­joyed their time at the beach.

The change was op­posed by the Levin Unit­ing Parish. Min­is­ter Ian Boddy and spokesman Al­lan Lit­tle said their ob­jec­tion was not sim­ply on re­li­gious grounds, but in the in­ter­ests of the well­be­ing of work­ers, the main­te­nance of fam­ily, and im­prov­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for leisure.

Boddy said while open­ing would be vol­un­tary, there would be pres­sure on busi­nesses to open to keep up with the com­pe­ti­tion.

The com­mit­tee said though the sub­mis­sions were split, it should opt in favour of a choice that would re­move ex­ist­ing in­con­sis­ten­cies about which busi­nesses could or could not open on Easter Sun­day.

Hear­ings com­mit­tee chair­woman Jo Ma­son said the pol­icy re­view was an op­por­tu­nity for the coun­cil to make a de­ci­sion that suited the dis­trict. It pro­vided choice, not com­pul­sion.

Ma­son was sat­is­fied there were pro­tec­tions for the rights of work­ers who did not want to work on the day.

‘‘Look­ing at the dis­trict’s beach ar­eas and the in­flux of vis­i­tors over Christ­mas-New Year and other long week­ends, it would give busi­ness own­ers the op­por­tu­nity to cap­i­talise on that ac­tiv­ity.’’

The strong­est coun­cil op­po­si­tion to the pol­icy was from Pir­iHira Tuka­pua, who said on Wed­nes­day the day cel­e­brat­ing the res­ur­rec­tion of Je­sus was the pin­na­cle of the Chris­tian faith, and busi­nesses would be blessed for hon­our­ing it.

Deputy mayor Wayne Bishop also ob­jected to giv­ing up nearly one-third of New Zealand’s re­main­ing non-trad­ing days.

Palmer­ston North re­jected re­quests to pre­pare and con­sult on a pol­icy al­low­ing Easter Sun­day trad­ing in 2016. Ran­gi­tikei Dis­trict Coun­cil adopted a pol­icy in favour of Easter Sun­day trad­ing in 2016 in recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tance of trade as­so­ci­ated with pass­ing traf­fic on state high­ways 1 and 3.

Manawatu¯ Dis­trict Coun­cil plans to con­sult the com­mu­nity on Easter Trad­ing af­ter it has re­viewed its long-term plan.

Levin busi­nesses will be al­lowed to open on Easter Sun­day, now that the dis­trict coun­cil has re­laxed its rules.

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