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Legislation to address shop trading laws

Monday, 6 August 2001 Media Statement

New legislation to address inconsistencies in shop trading laws.

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson is to introduce new legislation to address inconsistencies in shop trading laws.

Margaret Wilson says the present laws are inconsistent. "Area exemptions for restricted days - Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Anzac Day morning and Christmas Day - created under the 1977 legislation were 'frozen' under the 1990 legislation. This has meant that some tourist areas, such as Queenstown and Taupo are allowed to open. Others, for example, Mount Maunganui and Rotorua, are not. There is no mechanism in the current law to allow others to trade".

Under the new law, traders wanting to open on restricted days would apply for an exemption. They would first have to show that the exemption was necessary to address the needs of the public in tourist or holiday resort areas.

In deciding whether to create an exemption, the Minister would then also consider other factors such as:

- whether the retailer’s business (or the majority of retailers in a specified area) was disproportionately affected by restrictions on trading, in relation to other business, due to the heavy reliance on holiday trade;
- the nature of the area in which the shop or shops concerned are situated;
- public demand;
- any effect the granting of the exemption might have on family and other social patterns;
- the interests of the occupiers of other shops;
- the interests of employees who may be affected by the exemption;
- the desire to limit, wherever possible, commercial activity on the otherwise restricted days.

Margaret Wilson said employees would have the right to refuse to work on any of the days for which exemptions were granted.

"The recent amendment of the Act to allow garden centres to trade over Easter Sunday is a limited reform, and further amendment is required to bring the Act more closely into line with current commercial and social preferences.

"I expect to introduce legislation in time for new exemptions to be in place for Easter 2002, but that will depend on the support given to the legislation".

ENDS

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