The consciences of Government MPs will be “whipped” into line it seems as a new Easter Trading Bill has been introduced into Parliament. The Minister sponsoring the Bill, Michael Woodhouse, has previously voted against changes but he has now ironed out his conscience and declared himself “comfortable” with fronting this legislation.

Easter-trading-protest2Catholic social justice agency Caritas is appalled about the proposal and Caritas Director Julianne Hickey voiced their concerns immediately after the plans for new legislation were announced in late August. She said, “We know from long experience how precious our few remaining shop-free days are for families and communities. There are a range of activities that take place at Easter because most New Zealand workers are guaranteed time off work – including church activities, but also sports tournaments, school reunions, hui, unveilings and other marae gatherings.”

The NZ Herald has pointed out the incoherency and inconsistency of the approach being taken. It “passes the buck” to local councils and will result most likely in a confusing mis-mash of responses as potentially towns only minutes apart choose different policies.

The Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill is before the Commerce Select Committee and submissions are open until January 21st 2016.