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Former All Blacks call to vote against Easter trading reform

Former All Blacks call on Pacific MPs to vote against Easter trading reforms

Former All Blacks Savae Michael Jones and Aiolupotea Tonu’u are calling on the country’s Pacific MPs to listen to their communities and vote against the Government’s Easter trading reforms after the Bill reached committee stage in Parliament Wednesday night.

“Easter Sunday is an important day in the Christian calendar. But if the Government’s reforms go ahead many New Zealanders will miss out on the opportunity to spend EasterSunday with their church, their communities and their families,” said Jones.

Under the Government’s Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill local authorities will have the power to allow shop trading in their territorial authorities.

“Under the Government’s Bill people who work in industries like retail could find themselves rostered on for work on Easter Sunday. This is going to harm Pacific people who have obligations to their churches, communities and families on Easter Sunday,” said Tonu’u.

Both Jones and Tonu’u said that New Zealanders are only guaranteed three and a half days off work each year and that should be protected.

“Our community don’t want the Government interfering with Easter Sunday. We want to keep Sunday special” said Jones, an All Black who never played a test match on Sunday.

Labour’s Pacific Sector chairperson Jerome Mika says that the Government’s promise that working people will have the option to refuse work on Easter Sunday is naïve.

“We know from experience that people who refuse work for church, community or family reasons are often punished with things like reduced hours. People on 90 day trials may find themselves out of the job on day 89 for saying no to work on Easter Sunday,” said Mika.

Mangere Local Board chairperson Lemauga Lydia says that opposition to Easter trading transcends political boundaries, pointing out that both Labour and National supporters in Pacific communities are opposing the Government’s reforms.

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