TDC Opts for a no policy on Easter Sunday Trading – which in effect means that the ban on Easter Trading remains in the Tasman district. Due to no compelling demand for change from the informal survey results conducted in conjunction with Nelson City, and an impassioned plea from the union for working people in retail, members of the council voted to save the $20,000 formal consultation expense.
My own informal poll of the Richmond CBD certainly suggested that few business owners showed any interest in opening over easter themselves, even those who were in favour of the right of choice were largely not among those wanting to open. Certainly, the majority of staff said they valued the holiday more than the money.
There seemed to be more a drive for change from within council staff than from the public at large which raises some flags for at least one councillor on how biased other reports coming to the council are likely to be over the next three years.
The Government has allowed local councils to accept the blame for the law change, or not, around Easter Sunday trading.
The situation as I see it is that lobbyists try and suggest that the law over Easter trading is tied to an out-dated religious practice of a by-gone era. The reality is that trading on Easter Sunday now has little to do with religion. If one was to believe in a higher power (God) as the Christians who celebrate Easter do, then there is little difference between drinking beer on the beach or working in a shop as far as appeasing the judgment of God on a godless nation. “Religion,” or belief in God, can not be legislated.
Incidentally, if we were using the outdated (no longer relevant to modern society) argument then we should be petitioning the Government to do away with the Labour Day holiday also. The 40 hour work week is but a memory for most young families trying to buy a house, or for those who are no longer able to get a traditional 9 to 5 job.
The attack on Easter Sunday is actually an attack on families. Easter has traditionally been the second summer holiday period for many Kiwi families. Many people will take either the 4 days preceding Easter or the 4 days following Easter (and some take both) to maximise the time off gained from the short work weeks.
Once the rules have been changed to allow trading the likelihood of ever going back to non-trading is extremely unlikely. There is also the high likelihood that once the majority of councils accept Easter trading that pressure will be put on Government to take back control and apply a uniform rule across the country. So, this generation will be held responsible if we give up on our Kiwi holiday tradition.
The consolation is that workers who refuse to work on Easter Sunday can not be discriminated against – at least in the black and white world of legislators. I am not convinced that the world I live in is as gullible.
Whatever your view is on Sunday trading, I suggest you take the opportunity to submit your opinion in the polls that TDC and Nelson Council are currently running to gauge public opinion. The results of these polls will be used to determine whether a consistent choice can be made across the Nelson region, it will also determine the likelihood of a decision being reached for Easter 2017 or whether a decision will be delayed until Easter 2018 allowing for both sides more time to present their cases before the councils. Do not let the vocal minority be the voice that makes the choice for the silent majority (whichever camp they may be in).