Easter Sunday shopping now OK throughout Taranaki
It will be business as usual for shops in Taranaki on Easter Sunday, with all three councils allowing trading on one of Christianity's holiest days.
South Taranaki District Council voted eight to two to allow the change on Monday, following what Mayor Ross Dunlop described as "rigorous debate".
It was the last council to vote for the change. Stratford District and New Plymouth District Councils have already decided to let retailers choose whether or not to open.
The three councils had co-ordinated their consultation and meetings to discuss the issue so that it was dealt with across the region at the same time.
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* Easter Sunday trading comes to Taranaki thanks to the Stratford District Council
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However, each council was independent in making up its mind on the change, Dunlop said.
"We have decided to go with it. A majority of the councillors thought that it was a good idea to go with Easter trading, and it puts us in line with other districts in Taranaki, it makes it equal for everyone. If we went the other way, it would be quite confusing really."
He expected that some shops would open and others would remain closed, just as on any normal Sunday.
"Those that were opposed to it thought we should hold the line in not giving up these special days and that they ought to be protected. But the majority view was that it's probably not going to be a huge difference to what we have already."
"I don't think it's going to be a big issue, some will open and some won't. The people that want to preserve the day as a Christian day and not go shopping are entitled to do that. It's not compulsory."
Dunlop said he supported making the change, mainly because the current situation was confusing.
"It is quite hard to understand why some businesses, such as dairies or a small supermarket can open, the cinema can open because they see a bit of popcorn, garages can open. It's a mixed bag on Easter Sunday and this change just clarifies that."
One of two STDC councillors who voted against the move, Rob Northcott, said he was concerned for staff in businesses that would now be able to open.
"You know that if an employer asks an employee to work over Easter, there are ways of coercing them to work, you would feel obliged to do so," he said.
"It seems to be about big businesses and the amount of money they can make. The status quo was a shambles but that wasn't our problem, that wasn't what we were voting on it for.
"I just think there's enough days in the year for shopping without needing to do it on Easter Sunday."
Two years ago the government decided to give local councils the power to set their own rules in regards to giving shops the option to trade.
However, employees can still decline to work without having to give a reason, and the amendment to the trading laws has no trading laws applicable to Good Friday, Anzac Day or Christmas Day.