Media Release 25 March 2016
Family First NZ says that families throughout NZ are taking advantage of the long weekend and public holidays to travel, visit friends and family, and holiday together, and the current limits on Easter trading are good for the country.
“Families deserve a break. We reject any liberalisation of Easter, Anzac and Christmas trading laws because workers deserve special annual breaks to spend time with their families. Many families do not observe the religious association with some of these days, but it is still an important and vital family time in our culture. Anzac Day, Easter, and Christmas remain as the few times when the whole country stops and takes a break. Easter is the current target but we know that Anzac day and Christmas day will be next,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The only people shouting for proposed law changes are those who will make money from it. Economic improvement needs to be finely balanced with family and community time.”
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.”
“That is exactly what public holidays are about. Poll after poll has shown that both parents and children want to spend more time 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,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“This is not an issue about choice as has also been argued. For many workers, they don’t have the luxury of choice as to whether they work or not. Coercion to work is a very real threat.”
“Towns do have every right to protest that neighbouring towns can stay open when they can’t. But the ‘unfair advantage’ referred to has only come about because of the inconsistent application of the law – not because of the law itself. The law needs to be consistent and enforced. The Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE) needs to do its job and not turn a blind eye to the law,” says Mr McCoskrie.