Media Releases

Council hypocrisy in Easter Sunday trading bans

4 April 2021.


With more than two-thirds of councils having decided to allow Easter Sunday shopping in their districts over the past couple of years, Retail NZ is calling on councils in the main centres to follow suit.

“Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, yet out of date legislation means that shops have to close today, unless the local Council has given permission for shops to open, or some other exemption applies” Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s Chief Executive said today. “Most business-friendly district Councils have given this permission, but major centres like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North and Hamilton have refused to do so.

“In the 21st century, shopping is an important family pastime and, as a nation, we love to get out to shops with friends and family, maybe stopping for coffee or a bite to eat. Easter Sunday trading is working well in provincial towns and cities, and it’s disappointing that our big city councils aren’t allowing businesses to make the most of the opportunities. Retailers, especially those in major CBDs are still struggling to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and many customers are keen to shop.

“As Easter Sunday’s not a public holiday, shop workers unable to work will typically need to take a day’s annual leave if they want to be paid – but where trading is permitted, shop workers cannot be forced to work. Under the law, shop workers have a special right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday if they want the day off – a right that does not apply to any other category of worker. Equally, business owners should be able to make the choice to open – or not – based on what suits their business. 

“The nation doesn’t need Councils or Government trying to regulate shopping, particularly when online shopping is available 24/7 from anywhere in the world, and Retail NZ is calling for big city Councils to allow choice.

“It is completely hypocritical of Councils to try and ban shopping while their own services continue to operate.  Across the big cities, there is a range of swimming pools, leisure centres, landfills and recycling shops that are open today. If it’s acceptable for local Councils to open their businesses to the public on Easter Sunday, why can’t retailers also be given the choice?”


For further information, please contact:
Greg Harford
Chief Executive, Retail NZ
[email protected]
027 243 2842


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