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SW Easter trading likely to remain unchanged

After receiving more than 20 submissions about Easter Sunday trading hours, South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] will consider a recommendation from a hearings committee to allow shops in the district to continue to trade on Easter Sunday.

One hundred per cent of the public submissions supported allowing shops to open at Easter if their owners want to.

Following community consultation on the issue in June and July, all 24 submitters on the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy consultation indicated a preference to continue being allowed to trade at Easter. No members of the public spoke to their submission at the hearings last week.

SWDC adopted a policy to enable Easter Sunday trading throughout the district in 2017. Under current legislation, the policy automatically revokes on March 2, 2024 if not reviewed. To continue allowing shops to trade on Easter Sunday, the council must pass a new policy.

The consultation included most of the main religious groups in the district, First Union, business associations in Featherston, Martinborough, and Greytown, the Māori Business Association, and Destination Wairarapa, along with the wider community.

All 24 submitters supported the current policy – meaning all shops will continue to be allowed to open on Easter Sunday in the South Wairarapa district if they want to.

Of the submissions, 46 per cent wanted to support the retail and tourism sector, 50 per cent supported freedom to choose, and four per cent said allowing shops to open is good for the region and supports the retail and tourism industry.

A report to the hearings committee noted the region benefits during Easter from events like the Wairarapa Balloon Festival, which attracts large numbers of visitors and took place over Easter this year. As a tourist destination, many visitors generally come to the district over the holiday period.

The hearings committee needed to consider whether to recommend to a full SWDC council meeting to re-adopt the current Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy, allowing shops to remain open at Easter – or make changes.

A motion to adopt the recommendations in the report retaining the status quo was unanimously passed. The matter will be formally considered by SWDC at a meeting in September. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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