The Auckland Council has overwhelmingly voted against trading on Easter Sunday, with the mayor leading the move not to make the change.

At a meeting this morning, councillors voted 20 to 1 to keep the ban on trading on the Christian holiday.

Mayor Phil Goff issued a strong statement about his stance not to change - and was applauded for his support of keeping the status quo.

"Make no mistake. If it's Easter Sunday now that becomes commercialised, the next step will be Good Friday - because the same arguments apply,'' he said.

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"Maybe Christmas Day and even conceivably Anzac Day.''

Goff said the fact the council had to make the decision was a "hospital pass" from an indecisive Government.

Orakei councillor Desley Simpson was the lone voice in the favour of trading.

Simpson urged councillors to think about developing a policy that allowed opportunity as well as fairness.

"That allows the visitors whom we work so hard to attract to benefit and contribute to our economy,'' she said.

The vote comes after two recent surveys showed Aucklanders were divided about the idea of more retailers being allowed to open their doors that day.

First Union's retail secretary, Maxine Gray, called the vote a win.

"Our members have even told us that if they were to be given extra pay or a day in lieu, they would still prefer to spend Easter Sunday with their families.''

She did, however, point out that there should be different rules for retailers and tourism workers.

"Tourists actually don't go to Bunnings on Easter Sunday. Tourists want to go to theme parks and want to sit in cafes.''

Newmarket Business Association chief executive, Mark Knoff-Thomas, said the decision was disappointing for business.

He had been in the area on previous Easter Sunday weekends and often seen tourists wandering around confused about why nothing is open.

The vote was disappointing in that retailers were not being given a choice, which was unfair, he said.

"Our argument is - it's not about businesses having to open, but it's about them having the choice to open if they so wish.

"Our friends down the road in Parnell still trade on Easter Sunday, which is all well and good for them. They have an exemption under the existing law which lets them trade as they wish because it's a destination for tourism - as much as we are!

"In Newmarket, we get a lot of our out-of-town visitors over the Easter period who are here and [people] from overseas. But sadly, we've been denied the right to make the choice to open or not."

Knoff-Thomas said a poll of retailers in the area, conducted recently, showed the "vast majority'' were in favour of the choice to trade on Easter Sunday.