Press Release – SWDC Adopts Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy (Archived)

An extraordinary meeting was held at the South Wairarapa District Council chambers on Thursday 2 March, with the express purpose of hearing and deliberating on submissions to the draft Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy.

A total of 244 submissions were received, with 200 submitters in favour of the Policy and 44 submitters against the Policy.  Three submitters presented their submissions in person to the Council during the meeting (Frank Cornelissen, Lee Carter and Geoff Clark).

At the conclusion of the two and a half hour meeting the Council voted unanimously to adopt the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy for the whole of the South Wairarapa District.

The adoption of the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy will take effect from Easter Sunday 2017.  The policy will be reviewed again during the current Councils term of office.

SWDC Mayor, Viv Napier said the decision to adopt the Policy was a tough one for some Councillors. 

“We all had our personal opinions but we had to detach ourselves from these and look at the facts in front of us, this is what we have been elected to do.”

“South Wairarapa had the largest number of submissions by far, we were pleased that people made time to have their say.  All three Councils in the Wairarapa have now adopted the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy.”

“The adoption of the Policy means that shops in the South Wairarapa are able to open on Easter Sunday if they wish to.”

“An employer who wants a shop employee to work on Easter Sunday must give the employee notice in writing 4-8 weeks before the relevant Easter Sunday. “

“Any shop employee has the right to refuse to work Easter Sunday, without needing to give their employee a reason why they choose not to.  The employee needs to state their intention not to work in writing as well.”

“The Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill is very clear on employer and employees rights, I encourage everyone to be aware of it and make sure they understand their responsibilities.  If anyone is unsure of their responsibilities then please call us or pop into the Council office and we can talk it through with you.”

For more information contact SWDC 06 306 9611 or visit the Employment NZ website.


The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 restricts trading on specified public holidays, including Easter Sunday.  Under the Act only certain types of shops are able to trade on these days e.g. dairies, service stations, take away bars, restaurants, cafes, garden centres and duty free stores.

An amendment to the Act earlier last year now enables territorial authorities to decide whether to allow broader shop trading in their district on Easter Sunday via the development of a local Easter Sunday Shop trading Policy.

Recognising that Easter Sunday is a day of significance across New Zealand and that some people would prefer not to work on this day, the amendment to the Act also includes ‘right to refuse’ provisions.  These provisions allow employees to decline to work on Easter Sunday without having to give a reason and without repercussions for their employment relationship.

The definition of a shop means a building, place, or part of a building or place, where goods are kept, sold, or offered for sale, by retail: and includes an auction mart, and a barrow, stall, or other subdivision of a market: but does not include a private home where the owner or occupier’s effects are being sold (by auction or otherwise) or a building or place where the only business carried on is that of selling by auction agricultural products, pastoral products, livestock, or any of them or a building or place where the only business carried on  is that of selling goods to people who are dealers and buy the goods to sell them again.

South Wairarapa District Council’s mission is to work with and for the South Wairarapa communities to affect the best possible social and economic outcomes which are based on valuing and respecting the people, the land and the resources.

The South Wairarapa District Council is one of three local authorities operating in the Wairarapa.  South Wairarapa follows the coastline from the western end of Palliser Bay to Honeycomb Rock east of Martinborough.  The western  boundary follows the main divide of the Rimutaka and Tararua Ranges to Mount Hector, from which the boundary runs south east across the Wairarapa plain to the coast. 

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