Few defiant over Easter trade laws

Last updated 05:00 05/04/2012
GOOD TRADE DAY: Oderings assistant manager Ellen Hines says she is looking forward to working tomorrow because its big Easter sale creates a
GOOD TRADE DAY: Oderings assistant manager Ellen Hines says she is looking forward to working tomorrow because its big Easter sale creates a "great atmosphere" and shoppers are always happy

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Hamilton retailers remain largely supportive of Easter trading laws preventing them from opening on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, though a few are prepared to cop a $1000 fine to open.

Oderings Garden Centre is one business planning "to give the customers what they want".

"People have a choice to come in or not and we should have that choice, to remain open, as well," said Oderings' manager who asked to be known only as Tanya.

She said a Labour Department representative had already visited, reminding the store about the Easter trading laws.

"Then they come in again on Good Friday and take photos and make notes. "I think it's important to note that our staff make themselves available to work on Good Friday," she said.

Tanya said the laws were "archaic" and needed to be addressed.

"I don't understand how it applies these days because I think McDonald's are allowed to open – I thought that only places that were necessary should open – how is McDonald's necessary?"

The Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act 1990 requires shops to close on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and until 1pm on Anzac Day every year.

Labour Department spokeswoman Sarah Moffat said the department would not give advance details of its activities during the Easter trading period. However, she confirmed the businesses that breached the laws last year.

"That included two stores in the Waikato, Oderings on Good Friday and Mitre 10 Mega on Easter Sunday. Both were fined the maximum of $1000 by the district court," she said.

Mitre 10 Mega general manager Myles Whitcher confirmed his store would again be open on Easter Sunday.

"It's a decision made by management based on the fact that our customers want us to be open and our revenue dictates that for us on that day."

In particular, Mr Whitcher said the garden centre and cafe within the store were busy on public holidays.

"It's about striking a balance, we wouldn't open on Good Friday out of respect but opening on Easter Sunday, which is a restricted trading day, still allows us to cater for the customer."

However, other stores located at The Base will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday – despite public holidays being the "busiest days of the year", according to Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio.

"From an organisational and landlord perspective, we take a law-abiding approach," he said. "Having noted that approach, we have no power to stop individual retailers from opening. However, we do acknowledge that Hoyts, being a cinema, has exemption and accordingly we will ensure access is available to their customers."

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Hamilton Business Association general manager Sandy Turner said the business community was split 50/50 over the Easter trading laws.

"Some see it as a good opportunity to take a well-earned break following the busy Christmas and New Year trading and basically take a breath before the next big events such as Fieldays – but others see it as controlling and having a big impact on their turnover," she said.

The biggest issue was the law around Easter Sunday which was not recognised as a statutory day.

- Waikato Times


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