Grey District votes to allow Easter trading

The Grey District Council has voted to allow Easter Sunday trading after putting it to a conscience vote last night. Photo / Phillip Cossar, Flickr
The Grey District Council has voted to allow Easter Sunday trading after putting it to a conscience vote last night. Photo / Phillip Cossar, Flickr

The Grey District Council has voted to allow Easter Sunday trading after putting it to a conscience vote last night.

Only Mayor Tony Kokshoorn and Cr Peter Haddock voted against it.

A law change last year put the decision making on whether to relax Easter trading hours, on to local authorities.

The council called for public submissions, with mixed results although the majority of local people were against it.

Murray Torrens, from the Sundowner Motel, said trading should be allowed as people may arrive from Queenstown or the glaciers where everything was open, only to find Greymouth closed.

Marlene Trounson, from the West Coast Shuttles, also backed the move: "We live in a society that is trying to promote tourism but shuts everything down on this day".

The Greymouth Business and Promotions Association said its members' views were mixed, but generally they felt it should be up to the individual business to decide.

Natalie Taft-Boddy said people deserved a public holiday, while Michelle Keene said three-quarters of her household worked in retail and ended up working on public holidays.

"Think about the retail workers who get called into work on this day because others can't go a day without shopping."

Olwyn Witton said Easter was the most important Christian festival, Jack O'Connor said it would teach the community to survive one day without retail therapy, and Meagan Williams said people working in retail deserved time to spend with their families.

Allyson Kennedy said stores only closed three and a half days a year, and Debbie Crestani said, "before you know it they will want us retail people to work (Christmas) day".

Cr Allan Gibson said they did not want people to arrive on the West Coast to find it closed.

"It's up to the business owners," Cr Cliff Sandrey said.

Cr Tony Coll noted that cafes and restaurants already opened.

But Kokshoorn said it was a Christian holiday and if people could not go a day without shopping "there's something wrong with us".

- Greymouth Star

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