Another year and no doubt yet another debate will be sparked about Wanaka's Easter trading laws.
This year, like every past year, will see businesses in Wanaka closing their doors for what could be considered the biggest trading weekend of the year.
Business owners who cannot trade will have to get used to the idea that Wanaka will not join Queenstown and be exempt from the trading laws for several years at least.
Business, Innovation & Employment Ministry communications advisor Philippa Norman said exemptions used to be issued under the Shop Trading Hours Act (1977).
"However, following changes to the law under the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act 1990 it is now no longer possible to apply for exemptions, with the Shop Trading Hours Commission that used to sit and hear cases for exemptions now disestablished.
The exemption for Queenstown was issued on August 26, 1986.
However, most main centres across the country do have some leeway to trade during Easter.
Parnell Rd in Auckland, Market Place and Collins Rd in Hamilton and Harbour Market in Napier, as well as some other exceptions in Dunedin, Christchurch and Nelson, can trade on Easter Sunday.
Popular tourist and holiday destinations, Central Taupo, Paihia and Nelson also can trade with some restrictions.
In Wanaka, there's a partial exemption in place for Pembroke Mall.
Service stations, dairies, food outlets, duty free stores, shops providing a service (such as a hairdresser), real estate agencies, pharmacies, garden centres and souvenir shops can also trade.
Norman said the ministry did not often receive complaints from shop owners unable to trade at Easter.
Waitaki MP and tourism parliamentary private secretary Jacqui Dean, who has been on a unsuccessful crusade for the past eight years to allow shops to open on Easter Sunday, said she still believed it was "glaringly obvious" Wanaka businesses should be able to operate at Easter.
Dean's bill to allow shops to open was voted down in Parliament for the second time in 2012, with 70 votes against the bill and 49 votes in favour.
However, the only way Wanaka would be able to ever trade at Easter was if there was a change in the trading act in parliament and it would be a year after a decision was made to come into effect, she said.
Dean will be in town attending the Warbirds over Wanaka event this weekend.
- The Southland Times
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