Easter Sunday Trading Policy Debate a Close Call

To shop or not to shop? That is the question.

And it’s running neck-and-neck as to what the answer is as council’s Easter Sunday trading consultation enters the home straight.

We are asking you whether Waimakariri needs a policy concerning Easter Sunday trading.

In other words, should retailers be able to open their doors on that particular public holiday?

If yes, then we need a policy.

If no, then the status quo remains, so no formal policy is required.

Our consultation period runs until Tuesday [April 11] but there has already been huge interest in the question, with in excess of 300 submission responses received.

Many of you will have seen our videos featuring Easter Bunny either out on the streets or in action at last weekend’s Oxford A & P Show, soliciting views from residents.

The Easter Bunny has been busy getting around the District, pitching up in each of Kaiapoi, Rangiora and Oxford.

That work has not gone unrewarded.

Last Saturday alone, with the help of the enthusiastic members of the Oxford-Ohoka Community Board, the Bunny helped us to collect a whopping 240 responses at the Oxford A & P Showgrounds.

Incredibly, from that tally, just two votes separated the YES from the NO.

121 of those respondents prefer that the shops remain closed, while 119 favour open trading, which would require a new policy to be introduced.

Among the large number of comments received to date, a consistent theme from those who favour the status quo has been a desire to ‘protect’ Easter Sunday as an outlet for family time, with the suggestion being that the opening of retail would impact on this to some extent.

The counter argument that has come through consistently from the YES respondents has been that seven-day trading is a nationwide norm, as is trading on public holidays, so retailers should have the right to open for business on Easter Sunday should they choose to do so.

Both arguments have merit, as do a number of others that have been put forward.

Council appreciates the number of people who have taken the time to have their say.  Thank you for getting involved.  If you have not had the chance yet, do not despair as there is still time.

Click on this link to find out more about Easter Sunday trading as well as the other issues we are consulting on as part of this year’s Annual Plan.

There is also a link to the online feedback form where you can share with us your views.