Easter shopping examined

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Shop until you drop . . . An overwhelming majority of Hanmer Springs businesses want to be able to trade on Easter Sunday. PHOTO: HURUNUI DISTRICT COUNCIL

By ROBYN BRISTOW

Hanmer Springs businesses have expressed overwhelming support for Easter Sunday trading.

A survey by the Hanmer Springs Business Association has given the thumbs up for retailers to be able to open their doors throughout the long weekend.

Christian Chester, of the Hanmer Springs Business Association, said the organisation has since made a submission through the local community board in support of Easter Sunday trading to the Hurunui District Council.

With Easter looming, the council decided at a special meeting last week to consult the whole district on Easter Sunday trading. It has called for submissions, which close on March 19.

It recognised the growing appetite for Easter Sunday trading in the district, particularly after approaches from community groups and multiple businesses in favour of trading.

This follows close on the heels of the Kaikoura District throwing its support behind individual shop owners having the ability to decide whether to open or not under a draft policy.

Employees can, under the legislation, also choose to work or not, regardless of the council’s draft local policy being adopted.

However, in the Waimakariri District, shops will not be opening. The council received about 560 submissions on Easter Sunday trading, which were split 51 percent for and 49% against. The council decided to stay with the status quo.

The matter became a council responsibility in 2016 when the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 was amended to give local councils the authority to allow Easter Sunday trading in the whole or any parts of its district, provided a policy was adopted.

Hurunui regulatory services manager Judith Batchelor says the community can comment on whether cafes, restaurants and various retail outlets in the district should be able to decide whether to open their doors to the public on Easter Sunday or not.

“The special consultative procedure can now begin, and the community and interested parties will be notified of the consultation period opening.

“It is important that members of the public are enabled to have their voices heard on this issue.”

If adopted, the draft policy will allow shop owners, employees, residents and visitors to decide whether to trade, work and shop on Easter Sunday. Notably, under the draft policy, employees will still have discretion on whether they want to work on Easter Sunday without any repercussions.

Deputy Mayor Marie Black says that, as Easter Sunday is a significant day to many for a range of reasons, it is essential the council hears the community’s views on whether there should be Easter Trading in the Hurunui.

“I encourage residents and business owners in the district to get involved in the consultation process and have their say on this draft policy, which would become crucial to what Easter Sunday looks like in our district,” she says.

The Hurunui District Council’s proposed policy and further information on how to make a submission can be accessed by visiting a council library or service centre, or on the council’s website at www.hurunui.govt.nz. Submissions close on Monday, March 19.