Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough
What opens for Queen’s day
Cafes, restaurants and retailers can open on Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day, but many won’t be able to afford to, Retail NZ says.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that New Zealand will have a state memorial service and oneoff public holiday on September 26, following the death of the Queen last week.
‘‘As New Zealand’s Queen and much loved sovereign for over 70 years, it is appropriate that we mark her life of dedicated public service with a state memorial service and a one-off public holiday,’’ she said.
The decision to hold the oneoff public holiday in the Queen’s honour was in line with similar holidays in the United Kingdom and Australia, Ardern said.
Chris Hubscher, a manager of employment standards policy at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day would be treated as a standard public holiday under the Holidays Act.
‘‘No shop trading restrictions or restrictions on the sale of liquor will apply to this public holiday.
‘‘Shops may open and apply the normal rules for employees who work on a public holiday.’’
Employees would be paid time-and-a-half and would get a day in lieu.
Although businesses were allowed to choose to open, Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford expected many businesses to close.
‘‘As retail evolves, many businesses don’t think they’ll be getting extra sales by opening on a public holiday, so they are choosing not to open.
‘‘The market is essentially self-regulating a bit, but one problem is that some retailers don’t have a choice because their leases can require them to open, for example in shopping malls.’’
Although there was a ‘‘huge degree of sadness’’ among retailers following the Queen’s death, about a third of Retail NZ members did not think there should be a public holiday.
‘‘That’s because the costs of the day fall on employers. If they trade, it will add significant cost to businesses, and if they close their doors, they will lose revenues,’’ Harford said.
Retail NZ members appeared to be split on whether they would open their doors given the extra costs of doing so, which was consistent with what the retail association had seen with Matariki, he said.
‘‘If the Government is going to mandate a public holiday, it needs to look at offsetting those costs – perhaps with a one-off tax credit for businesses, or a payment to recognise the extra costs they are incurring.
‘‘It should also look to give businesses a choice, irrespective of their lease commitments.’’