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Councils to decide Easter Sunday trading

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/08/2016

Parliament Building in Wellington, New Zealand. © Rex Images Parliament Building in Wellington, New Zealand. Parliament has given councils authority to decide whether shops in their area should be allowed to open on Easter Sunday.

The bill was passed by 62 votes to 59 on Thursday, ending a series of contentious debates.

Easter trading has been a controversial issue for years, and several attempts to change the law through members' bills have failed.

This is a government bill, with Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse in charge of it.

"The government wants to solve this, and this bill offers a pragmatic solution," he said during the third reading debate.

"It doesn't allow any shops that can't open now on Easter Sunday to open in the future - it is all depends on choices by local communities."

Labour opposed the bill - it believes the government should set the rules for the whole country.

"We could end up with different sets of rules all around the country," said Iain Lees-Galloway.

"This is madness, it's fundamentally flawed."

Conscience votes were allowed on the bill but parties have taken positions on the legislation.

The bill affects Easter Sunday trading only. Good Friday, Anzac Day and Christmas Day shopping restrictions aren't affected.

It protects shop staff, who can't be compelled to work on Easter Sunday and don't have to provide an explanation if they refuse.

The Greens and NZ First joined Labour in opposing the bill.

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