Public consultation on whether Tauranga will join its neighbours and introduce Sunday trading at Easter begins today.
The public consultation period runs from September 22 to October 22. Consultation documents, submission forms and copies of the draft policy will be available on The Tauranga City Council website, in all libraries and at the customer service centre at 91 Willow St. Council will also run a phone survey on the same topic to further guide decision-making.
An early survey shows 49 per cent of nearly 6000 people polled favour being able to shop in town on Easter Sunday.
If the public consultation supports the change, Tauranga shops and garden centres will be legally able to trade at Easter 2018, says city council Economic Development and Investment Committee chairman Max Mason.
Tauranga is now surrounded by Easter Sunday traders; Rotorua Lakes Council, Hauraki District Council, Waikato District Council, Matamata-Piako District Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council all have policies that allow Easter Sunday trading.
Tauranga City Council's decision will not be made until the community's views have been heard.
“The survey gave us a fairly good indication of the community's position on the topic, and we now need to take this through the more formal, legislatively-required consultative process,” says Max. “This will help us ultimately decide whether to adopt an Easter Trading policy or not.
“If we don't adopt a policy, the current rules will stand, with no trading allowed save for the few existing exceptions like dairies, service stations and restaurants.”
If the public approves, Easter Sunday trading will take place during Easter 2018. If trading is allowed, shops will only open if they wish to and employees will be entitled by law to refuse to work on Easter Sunday without having to give a reason.
Good Friday will remain a public holiday with no trading. Easter Sunday will not become a public holiday, meaning employees choosing to work that day will not be entitled to be paid time and a half or to an alternate paid day off.
Snapshot survey results – Easter Sunday trading:
The opinion survey received 5736 responses.
When asked whether Easter Sunday trading should be allowed in Tauranga people said they wanted:
• No trading allowed on Easter Sunday (current situation) – 36 per cent of responses
• Easter Sunday trading allowed in specific zones – 15 per cent of responses
• Full unrestricted trading on Easter Sunday – 49 per cent of responses