Celebration for families on Easter trading
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
MEDIA RELEASE – fOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
20 March 2008
Celebration for families in Easter trading announcement
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the Catholic agency for justice, peace and development, has welcomed the Minister of Labour’s announcement that no changes to Easter trading legislation will follow the Department of Labour’s recent review.
Caritas Director Michael Smith said the right of hard-working New Zealanders to spend their time in worship, with family or involved in community activities, had prevailed over longer shopping hours. “This is a celebration for New Zealand families,” he said.
Caritas told the Department of Labour review that the agency had been prepared to see review of existing exemptions, if it was recognised that anomalies could be fixed by restricting – rather than extending – trading.
Michael Smith said that while Easter is one of the most sacred days of the year for Christians, it is also one of the few remaining collective days off for most New Zealanders. “Any balance between retail activity and rest was lost when the retail industry gained Sunday trading in 1990 – adding 51 shopping days annually. There are only three and half days restricted days left, and we are pleased that there hasn’t been further erosion.”
However, Caritas expressed concern for those workers who feel pressured this Easter into working, whether they are in one of the existing exemption areas, or because their employer is choosing to flout the law and pay the fine. “We urge all businesses to respect the dignity of their workers by respecting the law.”