Speaking up for you

Shop Trading Hours

Can my shop open on a Public Holiday?

When it comes to shop trading hours and public holidays, we want choice for businesses, employees and shoppers. New Zealand’s current law bans many shops from opening and trading for three and a half days a year (Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and until 1pm on ANZAC Day).

These rules are a hangover from outdated legislation that previously restricted shops from opening on weekends and evenings. Almost all New Zealand’s shop trading hours restrictions were removed by 1990, and under 2016 legislation, Councils now have the power to allow (but not require) shops in their districts to open on Easter Sunday.

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

Not only is the current law outdated, it’s also unfair. Restrictions to trade don’t apply to online retailers and 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.

It’s about choice

We’re advocating for choice for businesses and shoppers about how they spend their holidays, and to remove restrictions on shop trading hours. We don’t think all shops should have to open every day of the year, that employees should be forced to work, or that consumers should be forced to shop – but we do think that in the 21st century, everyone should have that choice. Shopping is a national pastime and, for many families, is a way that they chose to spend time together.

Easter Sunday Trading

Under the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act 2016, local councils were given the power to determine “local shop trading policies” to allow shops to open in all or parts of their districts.

Many Councils have begun processes to consider allowing shops to trade in their districts on Easter Sunday. Where appropriate, Retail NZ is making submissions in support of a more liberal approach, while protecting the rights of business owners not to open, and employees to choose not to work on Easter Sunday.

Our report on Easter Sunday 2018 shows that Easter Sunday trading was a success where it was allowed, but that national rules are still needed.

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

And as always, if you 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).

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