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‘Ridiculous’ Laws Make Shop Owners Criminals

The country’s ‘ridiculous’ shop trading laws will today see shop owners become criminals simply for opening to serve their customers, according to ACT Leader Richard Prebble.

Richard Prebble is laying the blame for another Easter shop trading farce at the feet of Parliament’s Commerce Select Committee that after more than four months has done nothing to progress a Bill before it to clean up the current laws.

It’s a year since MPs voted to send ACT MP Patricia Schnauer’s Shop Trading (Abolition of Restrictions) Bill to Select Committee. Submissions have been in since July last year but have not been heard by the Committee.

“Shop owners who open their doors today in spite of the laws will be made criminals by the inactivity of well paid MPs who should have heard submissions and had this Bill back before Parliament long before Easter,” he said.

“The current shop trading laws are nuts. Last year over 200,000 New Zealanders ignored the mess of shop trading laws and shopped anyway. It’s ridiculous to say that they did anything wrong just as it is ridiculous to say that hardworking shop owners who opened to meet that demand did anything wrong,” he said.

“I have told the Select Committee that it must get on with the Shop Trading Bill and get it back into Parliament so it can be passed,” he said.

“I take some encouragement, but not much, from Attorney General Margaret Wilson’s statement that she wants to address “serious anomalies” in the shop trading laws. All the work has been done for her by ACT. The Bill is there all she has to do is vote for it. It’s no good her making soothing noises. Margaret Wilson could have picked up the phone and had this Bill through Select Committee and passed through Parliament long before Easter,” he said.

“It’s time for fairness, common-sense and consistency in the shop trading laws. New Zealanders have waited a decade for Parliament to sort out the current mess. The solution is now in front of MPs in the Shop Trading (Abolition of Restrictions) Bill,” said Richard Prebble.


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