The decision whether to allow Tauranga businesses to legally trade on Easter Sunday has been put off until next year.
Tauranga City Council ran out of time to hold public consultations on the issue.
Last year, Parliament passed an amendment allowing local councils to choose whether to let shops in their area trade on Easter Sunday, following the required public consultation.
"We just haven't had time to do it," Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said.
"It's just another example of Government handing us things to us without the resources to do it. We have to run the public consultation at a cost.
"I don't know why they didn't just decide and the whole country have just one set of rules."
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Staying consistent with his pre-election stance on Easter trading, Mr Brownless said he was no "shopaholic" and personally did not see the need to be able to shop every day of the year.
"But I don't think we should be making rules and regulations about every aspect of people's lives. Let them make the decision - whether they want to shop or not or whether businesses want or open or not."
This week Rotorua Lakes Council became the first region in New Zealand to give the green light to businesses to legally trade after fast-tracking its processes to gain parity with other tourist hot spots like Queenstown and Taupo.
Through a quirk in the law, Queenstown and Taupo were exempt from the previous legislation banning many businesses from trading over Easter.
However, Mr Brownless did not believe Tauranga would lose visitors or locals over the long weekend to Rotorua.
The council was planning to engage with the community around Easter this year, when it was at the top of people's minds.
I don't know why they didn't just decide and the whole country have just one set of rules.
General manager of the chief executive's group Kirsty Downey said the process included pre-engagement to get community views, followed by formal consultation if the council decided to develop a policy.
She estimated the whole process would be needed to be completed by mid-March next year.
Ms Downey also did not believe Tauranga would suffer loss of retail spend to Rotorua.
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said there were clear economic benefits to being open on Easter Sunday from a tourism perspective, though it would need to be balance with a social perspective.
Last year two cruise ships docked in Tauranga on Easter Sunday, however there were none scheduled this Easter. The annual Jazz Festival would take place over Easter weekend.
She said international visitors were used to the vibrancy of "always open cities".
"During consultation we would support businesses at least having the choice," Ms Dunne said.
Mount Mainstreet manager Ingrid Fleming said businesses would probably open if they wanted to this year, despite potential penalties.
She said it was all about choice, that businesses should have the right to choose whether to open or not.
Ms Fleming said it was only good news if and when the council decided to legally allow shops to trade next year.
Staff could refuse to work on Easter Sunday and did not have to give their employers a reason.
- There are three and a half days when almost all shops must be closed: Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Anzac Day until 1pm.
- Shops which can open with conditions on Easter Sunday: dairies, service stations, takeaway bars, restaurants or cafes, duty-free stores, a shop providing a service rather than selling goods such as a hairdresser, real estate agency, pharmacies, garden centres, a shop at a public transport terminal, a souvenir shop.