Easter Trading: giving authority to councils a sensible idea

The Government has just announced its intention to prepare an amendment to the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act 1990 that will enable territorial authorities to allow trading on Easter Sunday in defined areas. The proposed law change will enable communities, through their councils, to choose whether or not to allow trading and if so, where.

easter trading hoursWhere there is interest councils will be able to adopt bylaws to enable shops to trade. The process for setting bylaws is defined in statute and involves a comprehensive process of consultation and hearings.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says by allowing councils to determine, in consultation with their communities whether or not, and if so where, Easter Sunday trading should occur the Bill is a welcome step towards decentralisation and community empowerment.

“Mayors in tourism centres have been asking for the authority to allow trading on Easter Sunday for many years and it is pleasing that the Government has recognised that local government has a unique role in its ability to develop policies and regulations that suit local circumstances,” says Mr Yule.

“It is pleasing that the principle of local communities deciding about local matters has been recognised in the Bill. LGNZ looks forward to more legislation recognising the limitation of “one size fits all” approaches to policy and regulations.”

The Bill is expected to be introduced within weeks and after being sent to Select Committee councils will have the opportunity to make submissions. If enacted, the new powers will take effect in time for changes to be made prior to Easter 2017.

“LGNZ will be encouraging councils to support the Bill through individual council submission,” said Mr Yule.