Do you want to be able to go shopping on Easter Sunday in future, or would you prefer Easter Sunday to continue to be mainly a non-trading day in the Whangarei District, with a few exceptions like dairies and petrol stations?
If you would like other shops to be open, where do you think that should happen?
These are questions Whangārei people have an opportunity to answer during public consultation on Council’s Easter Sunday Trading policy.
Council Strategic Planner Shireen Munday said Council wants the community to say whether to permit additional trading on Easter Sunday or not, and if people do want trading, where it should be allowed to happen.
“We have developed a draft Easter Trading policy because of changes made to the Shop Trading Hours Act a couple of years ago, allowing Councils to set their own policies on the matter.
The Act controls trading days on Anzac Day morning, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day public holidays.
It allows shops selling certain types of goods (for example, dairies, service stations, pharmacies, take away food sellers, restaurants, cafes, souvenir stores and garden centres) to remain open on the restricted trading days. It did not change any of the other restricted trading days or employees' rights to choose not to work on Easter Sunday.
“Workers still have a choice about whether they work on Easter Sunday. Employers must give workers at least four weeks’ notice of their right to refuse work on that day and workers must give employers 14 days’ notice of their choice not to work that day.
Ms Munday said some businesses in the District, and the Chamber of Commerce, asked Council to develop a policy to enable trading on Easter Sunday.
“Councillors directed staff to prepare a draft Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy for consultation with our communities, before deciding whether to adopt the Policy in time for Easter next year.
“Next year Easter Sunday will fall on 21 April which requires Council to adopt a final Policy at the March 2019 Council meeting, if the decision is to come into force in time.
“Council has decided to start the consultation now because leaving it any later would take us into the busy pre-Christmas, Christmas and summer holiday period. That is a generally busy time of year for our communities.
Also, religious groups or individuals and the business sector may have a specific interest in the draft Policy, and in both cases this is a particularly busy period for those stakeholders.
“Staff have identified key stakeholders, including Christian religious organisations, First Union (the retail workers’ union), the Chamber of Commerce and other relevant retail associations to advise them of this matter coming to Council for discussion.
This ensures that those groups and individuals can consider any submission matters they may wish to raise, in advance of the formal consultation proceeding.
Formal consultation on this will open 31 October 2018 and close 28 November 2018.
Hearings will be held 12 December 2018 and Council would deliberate this in February 2019.