Media Release 19 April 2014
Family First NZ is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve a break to spend time with their families.
“This is not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers, they don’t have the luxury of choice as to whether they work or not,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
A Research NZ poll in 2010 found that almost two out of three New Zealanders oppose a change to the legislation to allow retailers to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
“Poll after poll has also shown that both parents and children want to spend more time together doing family things like picnics and holidays together. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as the retail industry is required to work almost every day of the year, and shoppers focus on the holiday specials.”
“Easter, Christmas and Anzac Day each remain as one of the few times when the whole country stops and takes a break.”
“Public holidays are traditions. They create rituals for families, not based on shopping but on celebrating together, reconnecting, and making memories.”
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in “The Politics of Hope” said “Public parks make no economic sense at all. We leave a whole lot of space unbuilt on and not capitalised in any way, but that is not the reason we have them. We have parks because they do us good…. They do not make economic sense but they do us good.”
“Tourists will cope. Many countries have public holidays with shops closed, and tourists simply plan around it, accepting it as part of the local culture and identity. New Zealanders love visiting Pacific Island nations and still manage to enjoy themselves even when everything shuts down on a Sunday,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Towns do have every right to feel peeved that neighbouring towns can stay open when they can’t. The law needs to be consistent and fair. And it also needs to be strongly enforced – especially against renegade gardening centres.”
“The politicians should reject calls for liberalising the laws, and should continue to give the workers a break, just as they give themselves a break.”