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Disgusting Govt: Easter trading in too hard basket

Media release
Newmarket Business Association
Thursday, 20 March 2008

Disgusting Govt is putting Easter trading in too hard basket

"Just because there have been polarising public views on Easter trading doesn't mean the Government should do nothing and let the circus go on," says Auckland's leading retail precinct.

The reaction follows Labour Minister Trevor Mallard's comments today that the Government would not be introducing legislation on the issue as submissions to a recent review were polarised.

"That is no excuse and provides no solutions to the annual circus that is Easter trading. Already with its tail between its legs the Government is simply kicking for touch in election year. What we're seeing is a very defensive, do nothing administration that just wants to keep out of trouble until the election instead of doing the right thing," says Cameron Brewer, general manager of the Newmarket Business Association.

"The Government should have the backbone to take a stance or at the very least introduce some legislation as a conscience vote in parliament. Doing nothing in public policy terms when there remain so many obvious problems, is at best failure of a government's obligations.

“Even if the Government has decided to keep New Zealand's shops shut, there still needs to be new legislation to sort out the annual Easter circus once and for all. Until then the same headaches will recur.

"It’s crazy that visitor destinations like Queenstown and Taupo can trade, but Rotorua, Mt Maunganui and Wanaka can't and desperately want to. There also remain silly anomalies that see the likes of Parnell being allowed to trade on Easter Sunday because it has got an historic exemption.

“A new and level playing field needs to be introduced which reassesses which visitor destinations are exempt and which shops providing "essential" supplies can open. Also those areas with historic exemptions need to be re-examined. The question of whether garden centres should be allowed to open on Good Friday needs to ruled on as well. Since 2001 they’ve been allowed to open on Easter Sunday only.

"We strongly believe much fairer Easter trading legislation needs to be drafted that irons out all the inconsistencies that cause so much angst every year. Unfortunately this Government is being driven by the polls not by good public policy. Doing nothing will only make the problems worse," said Cameron Brewer.


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