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Hospitality Industry seeks tolerance

17 March 2008

Media Release
Available for immediate use

Hospitality Industry seeks tolerance from its customers this Easter

The hospitality industry is seeking the tolerance of its customers as it continues to work through the trading restrictions resulting from the combined influences of the Sale of Liquor Act and the Holidays Act.  Both these pieces of legislation impact on different days over Easter and in different ways, says Hospitality Association Chief Executive Bruce Robertson.

Firstly, bars trading on the Thursday before Good Friday must close at midnight unless they hold an entertainment, restaurant or special licence.  On Good Friday bars are limited to trading for the purposes of dining, although restaurants, clubs and those with an entertainment licence can trade normally.  However as Good Friday is a statutory holiday the additional staff costs mean that many businesses will either remain closed or apply a surcharge.

Easter Saturday is a normal trading day for everyone, but again because it runs into Easter Sunday, bars must close at midnight on Easter Saturday.  Easter Sunday is not a statutory holiday but under the Sale of Liquor Act bars may only be open for the purpose of dining, while those with a restaurant, club or entertainment licence can trade normally.  As this is not a statutory holiday no surcharges are applicable.

Easter Monday is a normal trading day under the Sale of Liquor Act so there are no restrictions on trading, but because it is a statutory holiday, again some hospitality operators will decide that the cost of operating is too high and will remain closed, while others will apply a surcharge.

The Hospitality Association believes that government should at least align the operating rules for all on-premise licences over Easter to limit the amount of confusion for both the industry and its customers.

Easter is a time when New Zealanders and our international visitors want to celebrate and New Zealand’s liquor laws should provide them with the opportunity to do so, concluded Mr Robertson.


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