Re: Shop Trading Hours (Abolition of Restrictions)
19 April 2000
Commerce Select Committee
Re: Shop Trading Hours (Abolition of Restrictions) Bill
I am extremely concerned to learn today that the Commerce Select Committee is yet to make any decision on how it wants to progress the Shop Trading Hours (Abolition of Restrictions) Bill. I am writing to you as Chairman of the Committee to draw to your attention the consequences of your failure to act.
This important Bill, to clean up the shop trading laws that will again this Easter penalise and discriminate against shop owners, has now been in front of your Committee for over four months. In that time you have not even had the courtesy to hear the 156 submissions on the Bill received in July last year.
The cost to taxpayers and shop owners that will result from this Easter’s shop trading debacle is the result of your Committee's failure to get the Bill back to Parliament.
Not only will shop owners in key holiday destinations like Mt Maunganui lose millions of dollars in trade by being forced to close on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, taxpayers will again be forced to pay for the Labour Department to Police and prosecute shop owners who open against the law.
Shop owners have been battling for common-sense shop trading laws for a decade now. That you have made them endure another Easter under laws that force Mt Maunganui to close while 15 other areas including Taupo and Whangamata are able to trade is outrageous.
The present law also placed restrictions on Garden Centres that, under the previous law, were able to trade year round.
The law as it stands is nuts. This Easter must be the last that these bans on trading remain. Your Committee has the solution in front of you in the Shop Trading Hours (Abolition of Restrictions) Bill. I urge you to schedule an urgent hearing for the submissions on this Bill and to set a date for this Bill to be reported back to Parliament.
Hon Richard Prebble CBE
LEADER, ACT NEW ZEALAND