Speaking up for you

Shop Trading Hours

If you want to know how to work out how to pay your staff for National Public Holidays and Regional Anniversary Dates, see our 2023 New Zealand Public Holidays page.

Can my shop open on public holidays like ANZAC Day?

We want choice, when it comes to shop trading hours and public holidays, for businesses, employees and shoppers. New Zealand’s current law bans many shops from opening on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and until 1pm on ANZAC Day.

These rules are a hangover from outdated laws. In the past, shops couldn’t open on weekends and evenings. Thankfully, New Zealand legislation lifted almost all shop trading hours restrictions by 1990. Councils now have the power to give shops the option to open in their districts on Easter Sunday, under 2016 legislation.

Today, Kiwi consumers enjoy shopping 24 hours a day, seven day a week. The arrival of the internet and mobile devices has meant that customers can shop from home, work, or even at the gym – wherever and whenever it suits them. Consumers today have unprecedented choice over how and when they shop. So, it no longer makes sense to restrict trade in this way.

The current law is outdated, and it’s also unfair. Restrictions to trade don’t apply to ecommerce retailers. Plus, there are large number of exemptions depending on what type of store it is and where it’s located, and there is no mechanism to grant further exemptions.

What business advocacy is happening for Kiwi retailers, around holiday opening hours?

We’re advocating for choice for businesses and shoppers about how they spend their holidays. So we’re calling for the removal of restrictions on shop trading hours. It’s not that we believe all shops should have to open every day of the year. Nor do we think that employees should be forced to work. But we do think that, in the 21st century, everyone should have choice. For many people, shopping is how they choose to spend time with their friends and family.

Can shops open on Easter Sunday in New Zealand?

Local councils now have the power to determine “local shop trading policies”, under the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act 2016. They can choose to allow shops to open on Easter Sunday, in all or parts of their districts.

Many Councils are considering allowing shops to choose whether or not they open on Easter Sunday. Where appropriate, we are making submissions, in support of choice for business owners. At the same time, we stand for protecting the rights of employees, to choose not to work on Easter Sunday.

Our report on Easter Sunday 2018 shows that where choice was allowed, Easter Sunday trading was a success. The report also shows that we still need national rules.

Check out our Easter Sunday Trading Guide for more advice on whether your store is allowed to open.

And as always, if you are a Retail NZ member and have any specific issues in this area or any other, our Advice Service is here to help and can be contacted by email or phone 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia).

Restrictions to trade do not apply to certain categories of retailers and there are large number of exemptions depending upon some factors. As a Retail NZ member, you can call our advice service to get clarification if your shop can open on public holidays with restricted trading hours. Not a Retail NZ member? Click here to learn more about joining our supportive Retail NZ community.

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