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Happy holidays this Easter

13 April 2006

Happy holidays this Easter

Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson is wishing everyone a happy Easter, in particular those who would normally be working this Friday and Sunday.

The Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act 1990 specifies three and a half days each year on which many New Zealand retailers must close – Christmas Day, Easter Friday, Easter Sunday and until 1pm on Anzac Day.

"When the 1990 Act was under consideration, the idea of total deregulation met with public and parliamentary opposition, reflecting the wishes of many New Zealanders to recognise that these three and a half days have special national, religious and social significance," says Ms Dyson

The current legislation allows retailers and consumers considerable freedom to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Until 1990, the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 placed restrictions on shops opening between 9pm and 7am, and on Saturdays (until 1980), Sundays and public holidays. There were some exemptions, depending on the goods for sale and the point of sale.

Since 1990, five attempts have been made to introduce Bills to amend shop trading legislation. Only one Bill has become law - the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Amendment Act 2001 which allowed garden centres to trade on Easter Sunday.

Two bills aimed at amending shop trading laws, drafted by Rotorua Labour MP Steve Chadwick and Otago National MP Jacqui Dean, have yet to be drawn in a parliamentary ballot.

"Any change to shop trading law is dependent on the individual votes of Members of Parliament, as this legislation is generally considered to be a conscience matter," says Ms Dyson.

Shop trading restrictions balance the needs of consumers, retailers and the economy, while continuing to recognise that these three and a half days have special meaning for many New Zealanders.

ENDS

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