No change to Easter Sunday Trading policy in Lower Hutt

A Hutt City Council committee has recommended  Easter Sunday shop trading policy not be changed.

A Hutt City Council committee has recommended Easter Sunday shop trading policy not be changed.

Most shops in Lower Hutt will remain closed on future Easter Sundays after a council committee recommended not to develop its Easter trading policy.

A survey to gauge the mood of retailers, the chamber of commerce, churches and the public found little appetite for change.

Out of 113 responses, almost 64 per cent were against Easter Sunday trading, while 35 per cent supported it.

More than 60 per cent of shopowners said they would not open their doors if the policy were changed, while about 25 per cent said they would.

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Among reasons noted by respondents against the change were a lack of financial viability, people wanting to spend time with family, religious reasons and employers wanting to give their employees time off.

A council spokesman said the actions of other nearby councils in Upper Hutt, Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti, who were yet to review or decided not to review their policy, played a big part in the Hutt committee's decision.

"The committee believes a consistent approach to Easter Sunday trading across the Wellington region is more pragmatic and less confusing, particularly for consumers, rather than [an] ad hoc approach with shops open on Easter Sunday in one council territory, but closed just over the border in another council territory."

Discussion about Easter trading began after the Government amended the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 in 2016 to give territorial authorities the discretion to permit shops to open on Easter Sundays.

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Trading on that day is currently restricted to dairies, petrol stations, takeaway outlets, bars, restaurants and cafes.

Notably, the three Wairarapa councils amended their policies to allow their businesses to open.

Popular tourist destinations such as Taupo and Queenstown have also opted to allow shops to open on Easter Sunday.

The committee's recommendation will go before a full council meeting for consideration on May 23.

 - Stuff


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