Confusing Easter trading rules need an overhaul

New Zealand’s confusing, outdated and inconsistent Easter trading rules should be reviewed, National’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“The rules are out of step with the world we live in. It makes no sense that some businesses can trade but others can’t depending on what they sell and where they sell it.”

Online businesses can trade without restriction over Easter but many traditional bricks and mortar retailers cannot. The rules governing which retailers can and can’t open vary from district to district, and are also different on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

This is confounding for businesses and consumers alike, Mr Simpson says.

“The Government’s review of the Holidays Act must take a sensible look at Easter trading rules, which are confusing and regionally inconsistent.

“We need to have an informed discussion as a nation about what businesses can and can’t do during public holidays. Changes need to have public input and support.

The Labour Government has had nearly four years to do something about this, and every Easter we are reminded how little it has actually done, Mr Simpson says.

“Apart from setting up a working group and receiving a report, nothing has happened. We don’t have a clear sense of what the Government wants to achieve or change.

“It’s typical of a Government that doesn’t have a plan, doesn’t understand business and doesn’t understand that how and when people want to shop has changed.

Mr Simpson says he is worried the Government is still being influenced too much by trade unions, which only represent a fraction of the total workforce and seem determined to take New Zealand back to the 1970s.

“After the tough year New Zealand businesses have just had, they need some certainly and an understanding of what the Government’s plans are. So far they have neither.”