Easter trading in Central Otago

The new Easter trading law has allowed the Central Otago District Council to enable Sunday trading for the first time.

Up until last year there was a glaring anomaly with Easter trading in Central Otago. Queenstown had special dispensation and was able to trade, while nearby towns were banned from Sunday trading like most of the rest of the country.

ODT: Businesses get green light for Easter trading

Central Otago businesses can now take advantage of Easter Sunday crowds.

In August, the Government passed the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act 2016, which lets local authorities choose whether to allow Easter Sunday trading.

The Central Otago District Council yesterday adopted an Easter trading policy, after approving it in draft form in November.

After the meeting, Mayor Tim Cadogan said the move would promote the region as a place to visit on holidays.

”Easter is obviously a prime time for that. We need to give our businesses the opportunity, if they wish, to get their staff to open the doors and make money while there are people in town.”

From looking at submissions and social media, it appeared opposition to the policy was not strong, he said.

Last year the council received 295 replies to an online survey on the policy, about 70% approving of the change. In December it received five supporting and two opposing submissions.

Central Otago is a popular Easter destination, especially every second year when the Warbirds Over Wanaka air show is held. It made no sense that Queenstown could trade normally on Easter Sunday and the rest of the area could not.

Wanaka is not covered by Central Otago, it is in Lakes District along with Queenstown, but that should be a done deal too.

Stuff: Long awaited Wanaka Easter trading closer to reality

Queenstown Lakes District Councillors barely spoke before adopting a policy to allow Wanaka businesses to trade on Easter Sunday.

Cr Penny Clark said it was a “excellent proposal” before mayor Jim Boult asked whether there was any debate.

There was no response and the proposal was immediately accepted. It must now go through a public submission process.

The proposal follows years of lobbying by the Wanaka business community to be allowed to trade on Easter Sunday and Easter Friday.

Unlike neighbouring Queenstown where an exemption is in place, most businesses in the busy tourist resort have been subject to law forbidding them from trading on the traditional religious holiday.

The old law with limited exemptions was a nonsense.

Easter trading changes proposed

The Government has announced plans to introduce legislation to allow local councils to to decide if local shops can legally open for trading in Easter Sunday. There is no intention to allow more trading on Easter Friday.

It’s about time this was addressed. Currently Queenstown can open for general trading on Easter Sunday but nearby Wanaka can’t. Taupo can open but Rotorua can’t.

Stuff: Govt and unions head for fight over Easter trading

Workplace relations and safety minister Michael Woodhouse announced proposed reforms that will see councils decide if local shops can open on Easter Sunday.

National will repeal current laws on holiday trading, allowing councils to pass a bylaw that can permit trading within their boundaries or in specific areas.Christmas and Anzac holidays won’t be affected – and public holidays are observed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. If passed, the changes will take affect in 2017.

Woodhouse argues the laws are “arbitrary” with some towns like Queenstown and Taupo exempted, but others such as Rotorua and Wanaka unable to take advantage of tourist trade. “The result is that some businesses and regions have an unfair advantage over others,” he said.

Not surprisngly unions aren’t happy.

But unions say it’s unfair to workers who will lose one of the 3.5 days a year that workers are guaranteed off.

The Government says the law will allow workers to decline to work, without penalty.

But it will extend what trading can already take place in some areas. New Zealand at Work – Shop opening hours:

A limited number of areas, generally tourist resorts such as Taupo and Queenstown, are covered by exemptions to the trading restrictions. Some shops in these areas can open on restricted days, but only if the exemption order allows.

The change would allow other towns to also be exempted.

And it’s not a case of Open or Closed anyway. A range of businesses can already open on Easter Sunday:

What shops can open on restricted trading days?

Is your shop one of the following? Then yes, you can open so long as:
Dairy The only goods you sell are:

  • Food
  • Drink
  • Household items
  • Personal items
  • Petrol, oil, car parts and accessories
The goods you sell are items people can’t put off buying until the next day, such as baby formula or pet food, and the quantity of goods for sale is no more than needed to meet the needs of people in the area.
Service Station The only goods you sell are:

  • Food
  • Drink
  • Household items
  • Personal items
  • Petrol, oil, car parts and accessories
The goods you sell are items people can’t put off buying until the next day, such as baby formula or pet food, and the quantity of goods for sale is no more than needed to meet the needs of people in the area.
Take away bar, restaurant, cafe You only sell prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold
Duty free store You are only selling duty free items
A shop providing services, rather than selling goods, such as a video rental store or hairdresser You only provide a service, such as renting videos or cutting hair You don’t sell any goods, such as videos, or hair products.
Real Estate Agency No conditions, real estate does not fit within the definition of goods as defined by the Act
Pharmacies No conditions
Garden centres You can only open on Easter Sunday
A shop at any public transport terminal or station You only sell books, magazines and newspapers, or duty free items/souvenirs, or food that has been cooked/prepared and is ready to be eaten
A shop in a premises where an exhibition or show is taking place. This includes markets, craft shows and stalls at these exhibitions and shows The shop/stall must be within the premises of a bona fide exhibition or show The bona fide exhibition or show must be devoted entirely or primarily to agriculture, art, industry, and science, or any of these. MBIE considers that to be quite a strict requirement, and that to be considered ‘devoted’ to a show or exhibition a shop must be selling goods that are connected in some way with the show. For example, arts and crafts at an art and craft show, or farming supplies at an agriculture show, rather than general goods.
A shop selling only souvenirs The criteria for whether or not an item is considered a souvenir is quite strict. To be considered a souvenir MBIE considers that items must be connected in some way to a place or culture in New Zealand.

Who can tell me if I am allowed to open?

If your shop is listed in the table above then yes, you can open provided your shop meets the required conditions. If your shop is in the premises of a show or exhibition or your shop sells souvenirs, then you are strongly advised to contact MBIE before assuming you can open. Shop owners are responsible for determining if they meet the criteria above.

If your shop is not listed in the table then you must have an area exemption to open (see below), otherwise you cannot open.