Easter Sunday trading

Despite some very vocal opposition Parliament today passed a bill that gives local councils the power to allow trading on Easter Sunday.

This will sort of allow tidying up a messy situation where tourist towns Queenstown and Taupo can currently open on Easter Sunday but nearby tourist towns like Wanaka and Rotorua can’t.

I understand that religious people don’t want to go shopping in Easter Sunday but why should that prevent those who do want to trade and shop to do so?

It was ugly in Parliament today.

Stuff: Nod for Easter Sunday trading law gives councils power to decide

The Government has handed councils the power to decide if shops can open on Easter Sunday ending a decades-long parliamentary impasse and after a dozen previous attempts.

After an insult-laden debate in the house, in which one MP was kicked out, the bill passed by a narrow majority of 62 votes to 59. 

National MPs opted to back the bill along party lines, leading to impassioned pleas from the opposition for them to ignore orders and cross the floor to vote according to their conscience. 

Labour MP Sue Moroney was booted out of the house, for the first time, for calling Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse “gutless”.

She said National MPs were “hypocritical”, attending church in their electorates, only to come to the House and vote the other way. 

Speaker David Carter asked Moroney to withdraw her comments, which she did, only to reiterate her point.

So she ignored a warning and defied the Speaker.

Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway backed Moroney in a fiery speech, calling upon National MPs to “get some guts”.

“The Government … is passing the buck on an issue, which is fundamental to the role of the New Zealand Parliament.

“This legislation is shambolic, it is going to create inconsistencies around the country,” Lees-Galloway said. 

But National MPs said the law would “give power back to the local community”.

Jami-Lee Ross said it was “a process issue that should be given to local authorities”.

Ross accused Labour of “awful tactics”, using ethnic and religious rhetoric in their protest against the bill. 

Some of the attempted religious coercion that I heard was awful tactics.

Like Saturday trading and Sunday trading I think this will be largely forgotten in a year or two.