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Easter Sunday Trading Bill to Parliament

Press Release

Rotorua MP to introduce Easter Sunday Trading Bill to Parliament

Rotorua MP Todd McClay is to introduce a Member’s Bill to Parliament asking MPs to change the law to allow local communities to choose whether or not they can open on Easter Sunday.

Mr McClay said that for a few tourist destinations in New Zealand like Rotorua the chance to open shops on Easter Sunday was extremely important.

This has been a big issue for my home of Rotorua for many years and my Member’s Bill will allow Rotorua and other local communities, through their territorial authorities, to decide their own rules for this day, he said.

Currently Queenstown and Taupo are able to open on this day but Rotorua is not. It does not make sense for tourists who wish to shop to have to drive 80km from Rotorua to Taupo when holidaying in Rotorua over Easter Mr McClay said.

My Bill will offer choice, it will not compel anyone to work or open their shop on Easter Sunday, and it will continue current worker and employee protection.

Current laws varied from region to region and across different types of shops. For instance in 1991 the law was amended to allow garden centres to open whilst hardware stores remain restricted. In Wanaka one part of a shopping centre is exempt from Easter trading laws however the remainder of the town cannot trade. This does not make sense Todd McClay said.

Mr McClay said that he accepted that not all towns would want to change Easter trading rules, however my Bill as it currently stands would not compel any part of New Zealand to open should they not wish to.

This is about choice, equality and the right of people to decide for themselves what they want to do on this day. If someone wants to work or shop, or if they prefer to spend time with their family or go to church, then that should be their decision and I back local communities to decide this for themselves, Todd McClay said.


There have been 9 attempts to amend Easter Trading laws since the Act came into force in 1990. Easter trading is a conscience issue in Parliament and therefore MPs have a free vote when deciding upon support for this measure.


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