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We need strong families, not great shoppers!

15 April 2006

We need a nation of strong families, not great shoppers!

The Family First Lobby supports the continued prohibition of shops trading on Easter Friday and Easter Sunday, along with Christmas Day and half of Anzac Day.

"In fact, it would be great if we could include some extra days in this list," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of the Family First Lobby.

"Poll after poll has shown that both parents and children want to spend more time together doing family things like picnics and holidays together. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as the retail industry is required to work almost every day of the year, and shoppers focus on the holiday specials."

An Equal Employment Opportunity Trust on-line survey on fathering and paid work (reported 8 October 2003) found that 80% of fathers generally wish they could spend more time with their children, and 82% of respondents said their paid work negatively affects the amount of time they spend with their children. Nearly 1200 New Zealand fathers completed the survey

In a National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health focusing on parents over-working reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999, adolescents who felt a sense of connection with parents (warmth, love, caring) were a third less likely to engage in harmful behaviour including drug use and teenage pregnancy

And an Auckland University's Adolescent Health Research Group report from 2001 found that 40% of students said they didn't get enough time with their parents each week.

"This is not about a religious holiday time relevant to only a proportion of the population. Anzac Day is also a day where shops must remain closed and has nothing to do with Christian celebrations.

"Public holidays are traditions. They create rituals for families, not based on shopping but on celebrating together, reconnecting, and making memories."

"Tourists will cope!" says Bob McCoskrie. "Many countries have public holidays with shops closed, and tourists simply plan around it, accepting it as part of the local culture and identity. Kiwis love visiting Pacific Island nations and still manage to enjoy themselves even when everything shuts down on a Sunday!"

"For the sake of building strong families in NZ, let's spend some time together this Easter - and let's do it more often!!"


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