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'This is about ensuring that vulnerable workers can count on having time off for things that strengthen community and family life.'
- Cardinal John Dew, November 2015

Solidarity with workers over Easter Trading law

Public holidays and the opportunity to rest, spend time with family and participate in the life of the community is a vital part of our social fabric. 

In August 2016, the Shop Trading Hours Bill passed its third reading. This allows local government to set their own rules about opening hours on Easter Sunday. Under the legislation, local government need to consult with their communities using the Special Consultative Procedure in the Act on any policy or by-law which will permit Easter trading in their locality. 

For the past twenty-six years, Caritas has consistently opposed measures to extend Easter trading. With the increase of irregular work hours, casual and on call employment arrangements, public holidays such as Easter Sunday are an important opportunity for communities to spend time together for gatherings, hui, unveilings, reunions and celebrations. Many families and communities will be weakened this Easter because people will be working instead.

In particular, we are concerned for the most vulnerable workers and their families, people who do not wish to work at Easter, but will be standing behind tills anyway because of employer or financial pressure. 

Retail is not emergency work, such as police and hospital workers who carry out essential work every day of the year, and we thank them for their sacrifice. Shopping is not essential. In order for some people to be able to choose to go shopping, other people will lose their ability to choose not to work. More choice for some will mean fewer choices for others.

To all New Zealanders, if you are confident that you will have Easter Sunday off and you are sure enough that you will be comfortably enjoying your leisure time sufficiently to think about going shopping, please remember that the person standing behind the till serving you may not have had the same freedom that you expect to enjoy. Please ask yourself what sacrifice they and their families may be making so you can make your purchase.

We ask that you stand in solidarity with retail workers who may not have a choice about whether or not they work on Easter Sunday, if this policy is passed in your local council. 

Act now!

1.    Check your local council website to find out if they will be taking submissions on Easter Trading
2.    Write to your council asking them to maintain the status quo to keep Easter Sunday shop free!
3.    If your council has not started the process, write to them to ask them not to start!

City Councils currently consulting on Easter Trading
Hutt City Council – Pre-Consultation Survey – Closes 3rd April 2017
Porirua City Council – Open for Submission – Closes 29th March 2017
Please check your local council website to see if they are consulting on this issue.

Submissions and Statements by Caritas and the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference
NZCBC Statement 2007
NZCBC statement 2015
Caritas submission 2016

*Download a letter template we have created from the link below.

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