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Rotorua council to lobby government for Easter trading

20 June 2014

Rotorua council to lobby government for Easter trading

Rotorua District Council is to continue to lobby central government to allow retail trading in the city over Easter.

At a meeting of the council’s Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee this week (18 June) councillors discussed the results of independent research carried out by Colmar Brunton for the council.

Colmar Brunton’s findings revealed overwhelming community support for Easter trading, with 79 per cent of residents surveyed wanting an end to current restrictions at Easter. Seventy two per cent supported trading on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday, 15 percent on Easter Sunday only, and eight per cent on Good Friday only.

Eighteen per cent of those surveyed did not support Easter trading and 3 per cent did not know.

A report presented to the committee meeting by council executive director Jean-Paul Gaston highlighted the strong survey results and identified the need for Rotorua to be treated the same as other major visitor destinations in New Zealand.

Mr Gaston pointed out that current legislation allowed both Queenstown and Taupo retailers to open at Easter while Rotorua businesses had to close their doors.

His report referred to a number of major events expected across the Easter period in coming years and said Rotorua retail businesses would be “severely impacted” if they were not able to open at Easter to benefit from the increased business on offer.

He said visitors coming to Rotorua invariably expect to find the city open for business at Easter.

In 2003again former Rotorua MP and now Rotorua Mayor, Steve Chadwick, introduced a bill into parliament to allow Easter trading in Rotorua, but it was defeated 63 votes to 55 at a second reading in the house.

Current Rotorua MP Todd McClay introduced another member’s bill in 2009 aimed at repealing trading restrictions on Easter Sunday but that also failed to get passed.

Earlier this year Mayor Chadwick and Mr McClay said they would join forces to push for changes to current legislation.

The Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee resolved to write to the Prime Minister and the Hon Todd McClay asking the government to legislate for Rotorua to be exempted from current Easter trading restrictions.

ENDS

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