Having just spent a large majority of the Easter period unsuccessfully attempting to buy bread from various stores around the country, MyThinks thought it might be important to help explain the new Easter weekend trading laws. These laws were passed last year by a conscience vote in parliament following some high-level moaning by a couple of garden centres.
Question: Can you open a business on Easter weekend?
Answer: The answer is quite simple really. Yes. And no.
Answer: Well… when the government were wording the legislation, they didn’t want to diminish or be seen to be diminishing the Christian traditions of Easter by saying, “Yes you can all open all weekend.” At the same time they didn’t want to have to interrupt their holiday weekend by having to explain, yet again, to the news people that the Department of Labour would be investigating any infringements brought to their attention.
Question: Um…. ???? again.
Answer: What the government effectively did was defer any decision making on whether or not businesses could open back to local councils.
Question: So the local councils are allowing businesses to open on Easter weekend?
Answer: No. Most of New Zealand was again closed this long weekend.
Question: But how come? Surely it would be in a council’s best interest to allow businesses and shop owners to open on a long weekend when people are wanting to spend their holiday money?
Answer: Yes. You would think that but, just like central government, local government are terrified of making a decision that would offend anyone so most of them haven’t made said decision.
Question: So was anywhere open on Easter weekend, then?
Answer: It really does come down to the local authority. Some have decided, because they are tourist areas, that all stores can open. However, others decided that only essential services like garages (which sell petrol and cigarettes) are the only businesses allowed to open. On top of this you have certain rules surrounding the sale of certain items. Supermarkets can open but they can’t sell alcohol in the morning, for example, so they have to hire more staff to police the alcohol sections to stop people looking and then getting grumpy that they can’t buy booze despite standing next to pellets of the stuff with clearly marked “on special” signs all over them. And if that wasn’t enough, since the last Labour government put in legislation requiring employers to pay employees time and a half when working on a public holiday so a lot of businesses are deciding not to open because they don’t want to explain to customers why their flat white is suddenly $7. At the end of the day it is up to local government and businesses whether they open on a public holiday weekend like Easter. I hope that’s cleared it up for you.
Question: Ok… thanks for that… So what’s the story with ANZAC Day morning?