Easter Sun­day trading on cards

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

‘‘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.

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