As he has for the past decade Mitre 10 Mega managing director Graeme Ricketts ensured the doors to his Napier and Hastings stores opened on Easter Sunday - in defiance of the Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act.

He once again faces fines of up to $1000 but, he said, that did not bother him.

"It doesn't put me off - it's not a deterrent.

"We had a very good day's trading and the number or people we saw shows that there is a strong consumer demand out there."


He said a long holiday weekend often meant people could get on to jobs or projects around the house.

"They want them to be able to get to work and we will continue to open for them."

While he was not holding his breath at this stage, there was the chance his company would not be hit in the pocket for opening on one of the three-and-a-half restricted days of the year - Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day (until 1pm).

"We haven't actually been fined for the past two years so we'll have to wait and see.

"But whatever happens we will continue to open because there is that demand there."

There are proposed amendments to the Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act which would enable local councils to allow trading on specific public holidays, although that move is not expected to be in place until Easter next year.

"But it shouldn't be up to the local council, it should be a national policy - it should just happen across the country."

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton has gone on the record agreeing with the stance that it should be decided nationally, describing the Government as "gutless" in preferring to hand the matter over to local government.

Labour's Napier MP Stuart Nash also agreed, describing the proposal to hand the responsibility over to local councils as "a bit cowardly".

"It is up to central government to make this law."

He said he could see the issue from two sides.

It only affected three-and-a-bit days a year, which meant people could spend that extra time with family, but he had also been approached by many mainly young people who had said they would like the opportunity to work on such days as they could earn extra money and also get a time-in-lieu day off.

There was also the factor of looking after the needs of holiday visitors to the region.

Mr Nash said it should be up to individual shops and businesses to make the decision on whether they wanted to open on a certain day.

Mr Ricketts said the guidelines to the whole Easter trading rules and regulations were sketchy - particularly when it came to identifying what could be labelled a tourist resort and what could not.

Under the act a limited number of areas including Taupo and Queenstown could be given exemptions to trading on otherwise restricted days as they were deemed to cater for tourist needs.

"So why isn't Napier in that - there would have been a lot of out-of-town people around and any overseas tourists here during the weekend would have been perplexed to find everything closed."

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said she would like to see the rules change and for shops and businesses to have the choice, and chance, to open on otherwise restricted days.

"We are a tourist destination and there have been a lot of people here this weekend so it would be good to have shops open for them."

She said while it was an opportunity for people to have a day off, visitors on holiday did still expect places to be open.

Tukituki MP Craig Foss could not be contacted for comment.