Easter Sunday trading on cards
‘‘It's not about forcing the town to open, that's for the retailers to decide.’’
A move to city-wide retailing on Easter Sunday is on the cards for Upper Hutt.
A council decision will be made before the end of the year following public consultation and the hearing of submissions in November.
A draft Easter Sunday Trading Policy, approved at a September 6 council meeting, identifies three Easter trading options including the status quo.
However the council’s preferred way to go calls for ‘‘giving all shops in Upper Hutt the option to trade on Easter Sunday’’.
The draft policy, and the future binding decision, follows amendments made by the Government to the Shop Trading Hours Act last year.
These allow territorial authorities to permit all shops to open, an extension of the previous restriction of trading to dairies, garden centres, petrol stations, takeaway outlets, bars, restaurants and cafes.
The council move follows its own informal consultation through social media and email which gathered 145 responses.
‘‘Of the feedback received, 51 per cent supported the status quo . . . while 46 per cent supported a new ESTP,’’ city business development services director Steve Taylor said.
The draft policy options are the status quo, limiting Easter Sunday retailing to certain areas and trading across the full city.
‘‘We recognise the religious significance of the Easter Sunday holiday but, on balance, consider that current and future shops in our community should have the option of taking advantage of the potential economic opportunity,’’ Taylor said.
Shops owners will always be able to choose whether or not to open.
‘‘This flexibility will assist shops to provide for visitors and the Upper Hutt community to shop on Easter Sunday.’’
City councillors Roz Connelly, Chris Carson and Angela McLeod called for the policy to go to consultation without the declared full trading preference but this was not supported by the majority.
Mayor Wayne Guppy said keeping the status quo might turn out to be the final decision but having a preferred option was important.
‘‘If we were simply against it and wanted to keep the status quo why would we even go out on the consultation?
‘‘The positive here is the issue can be discussed and considered.’’
‘‘It’s not about forcing the town to open, that’s for the retailers to decide,’’ he said.
‘‘The numbers in the informal consultation were not great and this way a [community] decision will be made.’’
While councils in the Wairarapa support Easter Sunday trading, councils in Hutt City, Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti have not changed their bylaws. The Kapiti District Council is currently reviewing its Easter trading regulations.