The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS -

It is ob­vi­ous that the Gov­ern­ment is out of touch with work­ing peo­ple. Af­ter pass­ing the sec­ond read­ing of the Shop Trad­ing Hours Amend­ment Bill, a law hand­ing lo­cal author­i­ties the power to per­mit trad­ing on Easter Sun­day, the gov­ern­ment then blocked a pe­ti­tion be­fore Par­lia­ment that would pro­tect Easter Sun­day as a non-trad­ing day. New Zealan­ders are only guar­an­teed three and a half days off shop­ping each year. We should pro­tect that, not re­duce it.

I know a cou­ple, both of whom are re­tail work­ers, who barely ever see each other on week­ends be­cause they’re ros­tered on for work. But Easter Sun­day is one of the few days in the year where they can say to each other ‘let’s spend the week­end to­gether, let’s look af­ter our grand­chil­dren and let’s get out in the com­mu­nity’. But this Bill means they’re go­ing to lose that day off and Easter Sun­day will be­come just an­other work day.

Work­place Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Michael Wood­house is say­ing work­ing peo­ple can refuse to work on Easter Sun­day, but we know from bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence that there are con­se­quences to say­ing no. Peo­ple might find their hours re­duced or those on a 90 day trial pe­riod might find them­selves out of the job on day 89. In­stead of a con­sis­tent law on Easter trad­ing we’re go­ing to have dif­fer­ent poli­cies across the coun­try. There’s no cer­tainty for work­ing peo­ple in that.

Dion Martin Palmer­ston North

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