Annemarie is the magazines editor and regular columnist for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Trading laws are bad for the Bay

Annemarie Quill.
Annemarie Quill.

It has been great to see the Bay pumping with crowds this Easter.

The streets have been buzzing - not just from the Jazz Festival events but there are cruise ships in town.

There was a kite festival, book fair and several Easter events for families. Many locals and visitors alike enjoyed a resurgence of summer-like weather at the beaches.

If we want to compete in international tourism, businesses should be allowed to trade freely on public holidays.
Annemarie Quill

I can understand the frustration of retailers at the trading restrictions over Easter.

When there are more people in the Bay it is natural that retailers want to benefit from increased trade.

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Given the Bay of Plenty is promoted as a tourist destination, I agree with Mount Mainstreet Association chairwoman Jane Debenham who said it was not a good look for the city if shops were closed.

Tourism Bay of Plenty head of marketing and communications Kristin Dunne said closed shops definitely impacted on visitors' experiences.

Other tourism hotspots such as Queenstown and Taupo have exemptions to the Easter trading laws and I think the Bay should be included in this.

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The trading laws as they stand are confusing and seem archaic.

Why, for example, are garden centres allowed to open and not other shops?

One might say because Easter weekend is a time when people want to tend to their garden. But it might equally be a time when families want to use their time off to get some shopping done, for the house, or clothes.

A law that says you can buy shrubs but not shoes, that you can buy a hedge trimmer but not get a haircut doesn't make sense to me.

It is also frustrating, at a time when people may be entertaining more, that the supermarkets are closed on certain days.

Many people have jobs that work through public holidays, but you cannot buy food unless from a cafe which is costly.

The Government should not be deciding when people can shop and what they can buy when.

If we want to compete in international tourism, businesses should be allowed to trade freely on public holidays.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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