NZ Catholic Newspaper 14 September 2015
In washing its hands of Easter trading responsibilities, the Government is failing to protect family time together on one of our few remaining shop-free days, says Caritas-Aotearoa New Zealand.
Caritas director Julianne Hickey said the Catholic social justice agency is surprised and appalled by proposed Easter trading legislation, as it will impact most on working families.
“We know from long experience how precious our few remaining shop-free days are for families and communities. 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,” said Mrs Hickey.
Once shops are open, Mrs Hickey said, many retail workers and others such as cleaners and security workers will end up working whether they want to or not.
“For those experiencing financial pressure, families and communities will be deprived of their presence, and our whole society will be the poorer for it. Giving more choice to businesses takes away choice from working families and it impoverishes communities,” she said.
There had been no consultation with Churches or unions on this proposed legislation, Mrs Hickey said.
The FIRST Union said the government’s plan to allow local authorities to determine if shops and garden centres can open on Easter Sunday just shifts the problem to a different decision-maker.