Should Shops Close Over Easter?

Default Profile ImageBen O'Connell
Should Shops Close Over Easter

Easter trading hours and rules are a common debate that springs up like the bunny at this time of the year. Shop owners say change is welcome, as do Retail New Zealand.

Families nationwide are heading away for the long Easter weekend, but many will arrive at their holiday destinations to find that their favourite shops are closed on Friday and Sunday.

Chief Executive of Retail New Zealand Carolyn Young says restrictions on Easter trading are increasingly outdated.

Retail NZ says current legislation around Easter trading is no longer fit for purpose and does not meet the needs of consumers or retailers.

Restrictions on shop trading hours do not apply to e-commerce retailers or any other type of business.

“Consumers are able to shop online without restrictions on any day of the year at any time. The restrictions the Shop Trading Hours Act places on bricks-and-mortar stores are confusing, inconsistent and not responsive to the 2024 environment,” Carolyn says.

“Around 65,000 visitors are expected to attend Warbirds Over Wānaka this weekend, and Retail NZ is pleased that local shops can open if they wish, both to ensure visitors’ needs are met and to amplify the economic spinoff for the region. Yet shops in many other long weekend holiday destinations will not be open on Good Friday or Easter Sunday.

“Shop workers have special rights under the law and are guaranteed Easter Sunday off if they want it. We support the continuation of this right.” 

Restrictions are not consistent across the country because local councils can provide exemptions, which can create confusion for consumers.

Retail NZ supports moves to review Easter trading through the private member’s Bill lodged by ACT MP Cameron Luxton.

The days when almost all shops must be closed under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 are Christmas Day, ANZAC Day until 1pm, and Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Alcohol can’t be sold on Good Friday, Easter Sunday or Christmas Day except to people who are also eating.