Easter trading restrictions could be up for debate again after the general election later this year.
National Party leader Chris Luxon told media that Easter trading is “something we’re definitely up for reviewing”.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told Newshub that his Government is not proposing a review of holiday trading laws.
“There are only 3.5 days of the year where shops are restricted from trading and I don’t think that’s necessarily an undue burden on businesses – it does guarantee that most New Zealanders, for a couple of days of the year, are going to have an opportunity to spend some time with their families,” Mr Hipkins told AM.
Over the years, the Catholic Church has consistently opposed further easing of restrictions on Easter trading.
In 2015, media reported a Caritas representative saying “there are a range of activities that take place at Easter because most New Zealand workers are guaranteed time off work – including church activities, but also sports tournaments, school reunions, hui, unveilings, and other marae gatherings”.
A bill from ACT MP Chris Baillie last year to remove restriction on trading and selling alcohol on Good Friday and Easter Sunday was defeated in Parliament on its first reading by 81-37.
Among those voting for the bill were 27 National Party MPs, including Mr Luxon. Six National MPs voted against the bill. Labour and the Green Party members voted against the bill.
The Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act 2016 enabled local councils to adopt policies to permit more shops to open for trade on Easter Sunday.
Currently, there are trading restrictions on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ANZAC Day (up to 1pm) and Christmas Day. A law change in 2001 allowed garden centres to open on Easter Sunday.
The current law allows shops selling certain types of goods (examples include dairies and service stations) to remain open on restricted trading days.