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Shut the door on big-box retailing, urge Greens

Shut the door on big-box retailing, urge Greens

Green MP Mike Ward today called for a moratorium on 'out-of-zone' big-box retail projects, saying the city-fringe developments are eroding the vitality of Central Business Districts.

The Green spokesperson for Small Business said large out-of-zone stores already enjoy huge advantages over locally owned CBD businesses, and allowing more of them would only create a most uneven playing field.

"We need to put the brakes on these concrete monstrosities to find out what they are doing to the mainstreets of our towns and cities," said Mr Ward.

"It is vital that comprehensive research is carried out to determine whether these megastores are a sustainable use of the community's resources.

"While there is considerable anecdotal evidence of the disastrous impacts of big-box retailing on town centres and local manufacturers, more than anecdotes are required if local communities are to resist the march of the big-boxes.

"British and Canadian studies have indicated a substantial decline in inner-city retailing since the advent of out-of-zone big-box retailing, with some Canadian cities losing between 25 to 38 per cent trade.

Mr Ward said he would back local authorities threatened with appeals to the Environment Court if they decline big-box retail applications in the interests of the business vitality of their town.

The Greens Buy Local campaigner hoped communities would see the "big footprint" created by megastore development as a call for action, not a cause for despair.

"Stopping the big stores may be a big ask but spending more of our money in our own communities should not be too ambitious for people determined to see their communities survive.

"Folk need to realise that a bargain is only a bargain if the product is going to last and we don't lose any jobs in the process by buying cheap and inferior products sourced offshore," said Mr Ward.

Mr Ward will visit Palmerston North to address a meeting on the big-box phenomenon on Thursday, June 19 at the Cosmopolitan Club, 12-20 Pitt Street, Palmerston North. The meeting begins at 7pm.

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