Waitomo District ratepayers have three days to have their say on proposed changes to the Easter shop trading policy hours.

The District Council wants businesses to have the option to open on the sacred public holiday if they choose.

But opinion across the district is split.

Devoted Christian, and 'Oops a Daisy' shop owner, Zeena Borevich, says she wouldn't consider opening her store on Easter Sunday because it goes against what she believes and just "wouldn't sit right".

"It's quite sacred and Jesus died on the cross for our sins and he rose again so we can live again, in a sense, so there's no way I'd open".


Mrs Borevich say's she not against businesses that would choose to open on Easter Sunday, it just "wouldn't sit right" for her personally.

The owner of Curly's Bar in Waitomo says he would like to open on Easter Sunday, and says it's great the Council is considering letting business operators make their own decisions about opening, or not.

"In tourist towns like this , people don't stop coming, they need somewhere to eat, have a beer or somewhere to relax, Easter's a busy busy time."

However Curly's Bar and other venues would still have to trade under the laws of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, meaning alcohol could only be served with food.

In a written statement from the Council a spokesperson says the proposed changes could bring benefits for businesses "in our main holiday destinations and along our state highways."

The statement reads: "It is important that not only our local community has a choice as to whether to shop on Easter Sunday, but that retail businesses in our main holiday destinations and along our state highways can benefit from trade from visitors and passing traffic".

But St Lukes Anglican Reverend Jekheli Sing says it would be good if the day could be marked by taking the day off from work.

And some smaller retailers, like JoJo's Fashion Café owner Joanne Osborne, say it's not economically viable to open on a public holiday, because the main road bypasses the town, and bigger franchises are making it harder to compete and therefore businesses like hers would even struggle to pay time and a half.

"The bigger franchises in town are taking away the business from the independents and that means we can't afford to employ staff, and that means they're all now getting employed there, and that profit is now going outside of Te Kuiti," Ms Osborne says.

The Cat's Whiskers Café owner Allan Graham says opening on Easter Sunday wouldn't be worth the extra effort, and his margins wouldn't be met.

Public submissions on the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy close this Friday at 5pm. Submissions to the Waitomo District Council can be sent in the post, made online, or delivered in person.

The proposal statement and submission forms can be found online here.

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