Repeal of Good Friday and Easter Sunday as Restricted Trading Days (Shop Trading and Sale of Alcohol) Amendment Bill fails to pass first reading

4 August 2022

On Wednesday 3rd August, Act MP, Chris Baillie's members bill the Repeal of Repeal of Good Friday and Easter Sunday as Restricted Trading Days (Shop Trading and Sale of Alcohol) Amendment Bill had its first reading in Parliament, where it failed to progress to the select committee stage.

While the bill was not of huge significance for club licence holders, Clubs New Zealand is disappointed that the bill has failed to progress.  Clubs New Zealand saw the bill as an important step in removing the confusion that surrounds Easter trading rules for licence holders and the public.

The aim of the Bill was to remove the extra burden on businesses by removing the restriction on trading and selling alcohol on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The explanatory note for the bill argued that the current restrictions on Easter Trading represents a level of state control and bureaucracy which is not required and is indeed detrimental.  

The impact of this is felt most severely by small businesses who generally have a smaller pool of cash reserves and tighter allowances. Small businesses makeup 97% of all businesses and employ around 30% of the total New Zealand working population.

By removing these restrictions, trading would have been permitted over the Easter weekend. This would allow businesses to self-determine which days they would like to open, which is more consistent with a free society. The Bill would have retained the existing employee protections under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 that apply in respect of Easter Sunday and extends these protections to Good Friday.

The debate on the Bill largely focused on the religious significance of Easter and the desire to preserve the few restricted trading days, so that families can have time together without the influence of commerce.

The bill was put to a party vote and failed with 81 opposed and 37 in favour.

Party Vote
Labour 65 opposed
Green's 10 opposed
National 33 in favour 6 opposed
Act 10 in favour
Maori Party 2 opposed

More information on the bill can be found here

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