Tauranga City Council is going to formal public consultation over Easter Sunday trading, after receiving an early survey result showing 49 per cent of nearly 6000 people contacted for the poll are in favour.
If the public consultation supports the change, Tauranga shops and garden centres will be legally able to trade at Easter 2018, says city council economic development and investment committee chairman Max Mason.
Tauranga is now surrounded by Easter Sunday traders; Rotorua Lakes Council, Hauraki District Council, Waikato District Council, Matamata-Piako District Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council all have policies that allow Easter Sunday trading.
Tauranga City Council is now considering a draft policy, which, if adopted, will allow shops to trade on Easter Sunday if they wish to.
The council decision will not be made until the community's views have been heard.
Formal consultation begins Friday September 22 on a proposed Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy for Tauranga.
The policy proposes that all shops across the whole city be allowed to trade on Easter Sunday if they wish to. Max thanked the community for their participation in the pre-engagement survey.
“The survey gave us a fairly good indication of the community's position on the topic, and we now need to take this through the more formal, legislatively required consultative process” says Max.
“This will help us ultimately decide whether to adopt an Easter Trading policy or not.
“If we don't adopt a policy, the current rules will stand, with no trading allowed save for the few existing exceptions like dairies, service stations and restaurants."
If trading were allowed, shops will only open if they wish to and employees will be entitled by law to refuse to work on Easter Sunday, without having to give a reason. Good Friday will remain a public holiday with no trading.
Easter Sunday will not become a public holiday, meaning employees choosing to work that day will not be entitled to be paid time and a half or to an alternate paid day off.
The policy, if adopted, will not override trading provisions in other legislation, such as liquor licensing provisions.
If a venue cannot currently sell alcohol on Easter Sunday, thepolicy will not change that.
Alcohol will continue to only be sold with a meal at restaurants and cafés.
Similarly, an Easter Sunday trading policy does not have the power to regulate shop trading hours or the types of shops that can open.
The policy can only dictate if trading is allowed across the whole city, or only in specific areas/zones.
The draft policy for Tauranga proposes a citywide approach, to provide consistency and certainty to businesses and consumers as to whether they can open and where they can shop.
Consultation will open on Friday 22 September for a month. Consultation documents, submission forms and copies of the draft policy will be available on Council's website, in all libraries and at the customer service centre at 91 Willow Street.
Council will also run a phone survey on the same topic in parallel, to further guide decision-making.
Snapshot survey results – Easter Sunday trading:
The opinion survey received 5736 responses.
When asked whether Easter Sunday trading should be allowed in Tauranga, people said they wanted to see:
• No trading allowed on Easter Sunday (current situation) 36 per cent of responses
• Easter Sunday trading allowed in specific zones 15 per cent of responses
• Full unrestricted trading on Easter Sunday 49 per cent of responses
Easter Sunday has traditionally been a restricted trading day, with only a few types of shops allowed to open.
Last year Parliament passed a bill giving territorial authorities the power to create local policies that allow shop trading on Easter Sunday.