Twenty-two shops across the country have been caught flouting the Good Friday Easter trading laws, according to the Labour Department.
The breaches come in the wake of a new poll which shows opinion is split on whether stores should be allowed to trade over the Easter weekend.
The Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act 1990 specifies most shops must close on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and until 1pm on ANZAC Day.
There are exemptions to the Act, with dairies and service stations allowed to sell essential items and pharmacies able to trade as usual.
Shops providing a service, like hairdressers, can open but can not sell any products, while garden centres are only allowed to be open on Easter Sunday.
If a shop does not fall into one of the exemptions under the Act then it is an offence to open and trade during these days. The owner or the occupier of the shop may be prosecuted and fined.
Of the 38 shops visited by labour inspectors today, 22 were open, the Department said.
Garden centres reportedly liked to open on Good Friday so they could maximise the start of the long Easter weekend used by some people to knock their gardens into shape ahead of winter.
Palmer's Garden Centre was closed today and open on Easter Sunday.
Last year, the Labour Department visited 54 retailers throughout New Zealand on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and found 22 and 17 shops respectively trading when they should not.
Those found guilty face a fine of up to $1000.
But the latest Colmar Brunton poll found Kiwis were nearly evenly split on whether businesses should be able to trade on Good Friday and Easter Sunday if they chose to.
A poll taken of 731 active Fly Buys customers showed 46 per cent believed retail businesses should be able to be open for business while 42 per cent were against trading on public holidays.
When asked which days businesses should be open, 47 per cent of respondents were happy for trading to go ahead on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. On the meaning of Easter, more than half of respondents saw it as a chance to spend time with family while just 37 per cent saw it as a religious holiday.
- © Fairfax NZ News