The decision by the Auckland Council not to extend Easter Sunday trading has been praised by Auckland diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission.
On August 24, councillors voted 20-1 to retain the status quo so that only shops currently able to trade on Easter Sunday will continue to be able to do so.
According to the Auckland Council website, Mayor Phil Goff was in favour of preserving the status quo which, along with Good Friday, Christmas Day and Anzac Day, allows three and a half days of little or no shop trading each year in Auckland.
“Most of us are fortunate not to be obliged to work on Easter Sunday. This allows us to bring our family together and escape commercialism for a day,” Mr Goff said.
The Justice and Peace Commission commended Auckland Council for consulting their communities on Easter Sunday trading and voting decisively in response to that consultation.
The commission noted that 68 per cent of submissions to the council on this matter were opposed to any change in the present provisions for trading on Easter Sunday.
“The final 20-1 council vote to support this is a confirmation that as an inclusive society they value the beliefs of others, treasure families as the core of our society and allow that family time which is so vital to the well-being of our families and our community,” a commis
sion statement noted.
Unlike other non-trading days – Anzac Day, Good Friday and Christmas Day, Easter Sunday is not a public holiday. If the council had extended trading on this day, workers would have been deprived of the ordinary provisions of public holidays (penalty rates and/or another day in lieu).
The commission continued by stating that civil society needs to protect the faith values of all members and allow them to celebrate their religious traditions.
For the Maori community Easter is an important time when they return to the whanau / marae for unveilings and anniversaries, the commission added.
Other points the commission made included: Families need time off work to be together and work/ life balance is important for mental health and fostering family life.
On the same day as the Auckland decision, Christchurch City councillors voted not to investigate an Easter Sunday trading hours policy, which effectively stops any extension of Easter Sunday trading in their city.
Christchurch diocese spokesman Mike Stopforth praised the decision.
“We are pleased with the decision of the Christchurch City Council to keep restrictions on trading on Easter Sunday as people will have the opportunity to rest and to worship,” he said.
The Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act 2016 enabled councils to adopt policies to permit more shops to open for trade on Easter Sunday.