Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has welcomed the defeat of the second bill relating to Easter Sunday trading in Parliament last week. The Bill proposed to allow local authorities to extend Easter trading in their own local areas.
The CEO of Caritas, the Catholic agency for justice, peace and development, Michael Smith, said both bills would have seen many New Zealand workers with little choice but to work on Good Friday and Easter Sunday Easter due to competitive commercial circumstances.
‘The defeat of these bills has given the choice back to hard working New Zealanders about how they spend their Easter, whether it be in worship, with families or attending cultural and community events often held at this time.
‘With increasing pressures in our working lives, our home lives are becoming more compromised. It is important that we preserve some time in building bonds that strengthen our communities.’
Caritas believes that the benefit of ensuring workers a day of rest outweighs any short-term commercial gain to retailers, and strongly supports the decisions made by Members of Parliament in regard to both these bills.
Michael Smith asked that parishes or other organisations currently collecting signatures on a petition opposing Easter Sunday trading, which is still circulating, complete this work and send it either to Caritas or one of the MPs named on the petition.
‘Although these bills are defeated, it is unlikely that the issue of extending retail hours at Easter has gone away for good.’
The petitions will be presented to Parliament by unions and church groups in June as further confirmation to our MPs that the defeat of these Bills was necessary and important to many New Zealanders.
For more information, please contact: Lisa Beech, Caritas research and advocacy officer, 04-496-1742.