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Govt Not Solving Easter Trading Shambles

The Labour-Alliance Government's timid move to allow just garden centres to operate on Easter Sunday is not solving the shambles of Easter shop trading hours, National's Industrial Relations spokesperson Lockwood Smith said today.

"Letting garden centres do business is a step in the right direction but the Government is blind to the fact that tourism is our biggest export earner, and Easter is an important time for tourists.

"For Margaret Wilson to be saying that the Government is looking to allow only areas like Rotorua and Mt Maunganui to open shops next year makes no sense. Tourism is a nationwide business and it's crazy to hamstring our biggest export industry for a further 12 months for no reason beyond the intransigence of Laila Harre and her Alliance comrades.

"The Alliance's opposition to Easter Sunday trading is nothing to do with respecting religious views. It is simply a labour union issue that should be exposed for what it is. It is ridiculous that shops can open in Taupo but not Rotorua, and open in Parnell but not in other parts of Auckland.

"It is a stupid situation when New Zealanders and tourists can't visit a winery for a relaxing Easter Sunday afternoon. Wine is also an emerging export earner and tourist attraction and it makes no sense that vineyard operators have to go through the farce of obtaining a special function licence so they can open on Easter Sunday.

"While I expect National members will support Labour and the Alliance's timid first move, I also intend to move amendments to their legislation as it passes through the House to put real pressure on individual Government members who I know agree that the tourism industry should be able to operate on Easter Sunday," Dr Smith said.

Ends

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