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Reasons for no Easter leglisation misled public

Media releaase

Newmarket Business Association

22 April 2008

Mallard’s reasons for no leglisation misled the public

An Auckland business organisation claims that real reason the Government opted against tidying up the Easter trading laws, is in fact not the reason Labour Minister Trevor Mallard publicly stated last month.

Last month Trevor Mallard claimed in a press statement* that the 4000-plus submissions to the Labour Department discussion document on the issue of Easter trading “do not reach a consensus and in fact opinions are quite polarised”… “given the wide ranging views reflected in submissions, New Zealanders clearly do not have a common view”…”because of this total lack of consensus, I have indicated to colleagues the I will not introduce legislation on this issue.”

“We accepted the Minister’s explanation at face value. Then last week we got posted a copy of the Department of Labour’s document titled " Easter trading - a summary of submissions" which revealed that out of the 4,058 submitters, 3,951 were ‘National Distribution Union Members’. The whole consultation process was hijacked by a staggering 97.4% of submitters who sent in a form submission written by one union and for all the wrong reasons Labour bowed to their pressure,” said Cameron Brewer, general manager of the Newmarket Business Association today.

"Mr Mallard claimed that the reason Labour was not going to tidy up the Easter trading laws was purely because New Zealanders opinions were polarised. We now know this is complete rubbish. The reality is a staggering 97.4% of submissions came from the NDU which effectively forced the Government to cave in and do nothing. This is despite months of consultation at a huge cost to the taxpayer and a myriad of problems that remain around Easter for all to see.

"Easter trading will continue to be a nightmare because this Government was simply bullied in election year by a union. It is clear that Labour is now more interested in votes than good public policy.”

Mr Brewer said it is important to note that his business association’s submission did not push for shops to open over Easter, but made it clear that the status quo legislation could not prevail. He said even if the majority of shops were still forced to close, a new and level playing field needed to be introduced by the Government to sort out the inconsistencies around visitor destinations, shops providing essential supplies, garden centres, and those areas with historic exemptions.

“This was the best chance the Government’s had since the Shop Trading Act Repeal Act 1990 to sort out the annual Easter circus once and for all. Unfortunately it decided to give into one of its staunchest election year supporters, and then have the audacity to blame the wider New Zealand public for not having a common view. At the very best that is dishonest, at worst misleading,”said Mr Brewer

ENDS

Press release by Trevor Mallard “Update on Easter trading legislation”, 20 March 2008 – www.beehive.govt.nz

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