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Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy

Proposal: That trading on Easter Sunday is allowed throughout the Manawatū District.


The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 says that shops must stay closed for business on Easter Sunday (exceptions to that rule are garden centres, dairies, service stations and souvenir shops). The Act was amended in 2016 to allow councils to decide whether retailers in their districts can open on Easter Sunday. In order for local shops to be allowed to open on Easter Sunday, Council must have a policy which permits it.

Options and Reasons for Proposal

Council considered three options:

  • Easter Sunday trading is allowed throughout the district.
  • Easter Sunday trading is allowed in some parts of the district and not others.
  • Status quo - businesses will not have a choice on whether or not to open; only businesses with exemptions (service stations, dairies etc.) can continue to trade.

Allowing Easter Sunday trading across the district is Council’s preferred option. It:

  • Recognises the importance of the retail sector and the economic benefits for shop owners and workers.
  • Does away with inequities caused by the current law whereby some shops can trade on Easter Sunday and others cannot.

If the policy is adopted shops have the ability to choose if they want to open or not.

How does this affect Employees?

Employees also have a choice about working on Easter Sunday. This is not part of the Council policy but is in the law. The Act has provisions that protect employees’ rights. Shop employees can refuse to work on Easter Sunday. They must tell the employer of their intention not to work on Easter Sunday but do not need to give a reason.

What about Sale and Supply of Alcohol?

Rules about the sale and supply of alcohol will not change because local policies cannot override shop trading provisions in other legislation, such as in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. On Easter Sunday the sale or supply of alcohol is prohibited from bottle stores and other places with off licences, and from restaurants and other entertainment venues other than to people dining on the premises.

Your feedback

The deadline for written feedback was 23 October 2018. Council held hearings on 22 November 2018 and deliberations on 6 December 2018.

Other information

Report to Council (165KB pdf)
Statement of Proposal - Easter Sunday Trading (2MB pdf)