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Easter trading laws need updating

Jacqui Dean
National Party MP for Otago

18 April 2006

Easter trading laws need updating

National MP Jacqui Dean says Easter trading legislation must be amended before there is yet another round of “pointless prosecutions”.

“This law is well past its use-by date,” says Mrs Dean, who is the MP for the Otago electorate, which includes Wanaka,

“If retailers and businesses want to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and they have the support of the community to do so, it’s not the Government’s job to stand in their way.

“In Wanaka, for example, the Warbirds show means the place is absolutely abuzz – it’s madness to suggest that the thousands of tourists in for the weekend should not be catered to by local retailers.”

One fifth of all Labour Department prosecutions under the Shop Trading Hours legislation this year were made in Wanaka.

As well as a fine, the prosecuted retailers now face criminal conviction.

Mrs Dean says the disproportionate number of prosecutions suggests that Wanaka retailers were made an example of.

“Many shops were open in other towns but avoided prosecution because there were no inspectors around. If the law is to be applied, it must be done so fairly.

“The Labour Department should have advised the Minister of the need for legislative change rather than carrying on with what appears to be a shameless revenue-grabbing exercise.

“I have drafted a bill that supports and recognises Wanaka retailers and business people who just want to get on with business. Hopefully this will be debated before next Easter so we can avoid another year of disruption and pointless prosecutions.”

ENDS

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