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Retailers Welcome Debate on Easter Trading Change

The NZ Retailers Association (NZRA) has welcomed the decision by the Minister of Labour and the Commerce Select Committee to release the Report of the Shop Trading Hours Working Group for public submissions.

"The Working Group considered all the issues affecting shop trading over the Easter holidays and arrived at a pragmatic decision to recommend that shops be permitted to open on Easter Sunday," says NZRA's chief executive, John Albertson. "We strongly promoted the establishment of the group, which is comprised of retailers, consumers, unions and local government."

"It's high time this debate reached conclusion. Parliament has not resolved the matter despite several attempts in recent years and the Working Group's report gave comfort to all interested parties. There are different opinions amongst retailers, just as there are in the wider community, but we believe the industry can live with this outcome. 

" The status quo is not an option. We saw several groups openly flouting the law this year. That's not in anyone's interest.

"The ongoing debate has wasted too much time in Parliament and a new approach was required to reach a consensus outcome. The Working Group achieved that and will encourage the Select Committee to move their recommendations through into law before Easter 2004.

"The Group recognised that the community is not ready to see shops opening on Christmas Day, Anzac Day morning or on Good Friday - but Easter Sunday is a family day and New Zealand families love to shop.

"It is also important that the needs of holiday areas are recognised."

The Report recommended two options for Easter Sunday opening, full deregulation and an alternative of allowing local authorities to determine the matter for all or part of their districts. There were also recommendations allowing staff to decide to work or not work on the day.

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Further Information

John Albertson                                        027 445 9400
Chief Executive Officer 

Cliff Daly                                                    025 371 391
Industrial Consultant

John Albertson is Chief Executive of the New Zealand Retailers Association and has held this position for seven years. Before taking on this role, Albertson was national group marketing manager of R Hannah & Co - New Zealand's largest specialist footwear chain. Cliff Daly was a member of the Working Group.