Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Shop-owners play by the rules

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Palmers Garden Centre staff member Anna Sargent worked yesterday because garden centres are legally allowed to open on Easter Sunday. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
Palmers Garden Centre staff member Anna Sargent worked yesterday because garden centres are legally allowed to open on Easter Sunday. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

Easter Trading laws may not be in place next year, but very few inner city retailers in Rotorua decided to test the law over the long weekend.

Tourists in the city spoken to by the Rotorua Daily Post expressed surprise and confusion around the laws yesterday, wondering why the tourist city was not allowed to trade on Good Friday or Easter Sunday.

On the other hand, a local garden centre operator said if everyone had the choice to open many people confused about the laws would head out to do some shopping instead of just staying home.

Palmers Garden Centre owner/operator Darryl Pierce said he had been busy all weekend.

"Our customers have been amazing, coming in and looking for something to do and preparing their winter gardens. No matter what weekend Easter is on, it's always a busy weekend."

Garden centres are exempt from the law and are allowed to trade on Easter Sunday, but not Good Friday.

Mr Pierce said he supported the change to the Easter trading laws.

We would be even busier on Sundays if everyone else around town was open, people are in a shopping mood.
Palmers Garden Centre owner/operator Darryl Pierce

He said his staff were happy to work and he also worked alongside them every Easter.
"The problem is people don't expect us to be open, the law is confusing to them."

One Rotorua shop-owner, who the Rotorua Daily Post decided not to name, said he opened his doors yesterday.

"Just for the afternoon, but it's not really been worth it, I had nothing better to do. I think it's my decision if I should be open or not."

He said he had made a few sales, mostly to tourists.

Last week, Rotorua MP Todd McClay said he believed this Easter would be the last time Rotorua retailers had to remain closed over the busy weekend.

Mr McClay is confident that by next Easter locals will have the choice of whether they shop, work, relax with family or go to church on Easter Sunday.

The Government's Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill, which is based on Mr McClay's previous legislation, passed its first reading in November with 75 votes in favour and 45 against.

Rotorua had been denied the choice while Taupo and Queenstown have had the right to open over Easter.

He said with an estimated 35,000 people visiting Rotorua during Easter it would give retailers the choice of whether they wanted to open or not.

Restricted trading on Good Friday would not change.

Pukekohe resident Katrina Howard was in Rotorua for a short holiday and said the general public should be allowed to shop on Easter Sunday.

Easter trading rules:

What can be open on Easter Sunday?

* Dairies, cafes, service stations, pharmacies, real estate agencies, some markets, garden centres, cellar doors selling particular wines

There are no restrictions on Easter Monday trading

* Businesses providing services are free to open on any day, as long as they don't sell any goods

* Restaurants and bars can sell alcohol as long as customers buy a meal

- Rotorua Daily Post

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