Despite changes to Easter trading rules across the country, options remain limited in Auckland. But most retailers aren't complaining.

After years of public debate about whether strict Easter trading rules should be relaxed, Parliament responded to the debate by giving councils the power to create a policy to allow shops to trade on Easter Sunday.

However, the Auckland Council voted to change nothing - meaning the long-held restrictions remained in place.

While some remain frustrated, a recent survey of Takapuna Beach Business Association members has revealed more retailers are happy with the Easter trading rules as they are.


Sixty per cent of those surveyed said they would not like to be able to open on Good Friday, while 66 per cent said they would not like to be able to open on Easter Sunday.

When asked whether council got the decision right, 53 per cent of survey respondents said that they did.

Takapuna Beach Business Association chief executive, Terence Harpur said this has effectively ended the debate.

"Let's not forget, there are only three-and-a-half days a year of retail restrictions when you include Christmas Day and Anzac Day until 1pm, and it's clear our retailers want it to remain that way," Harpur said.

"Kiwis really value the few shop-free days we have left, and our business owners and retail workers deserve the break. In Auckland, the Easter trading debate has well and truly been had, and it's clear it doesn't need to be revisited any time soon."

While the restrictions remain intact in Auckland, this is not the case for other cities and towns around the country.

Councils that have opened the doors to Easter trading include Tauranga, Taupo, Rotorua, Whangarei, Waitomo, Gisborne and Napier, among many others.

The Easter Sunday trading rules differ from council to council. Source/Retail NZ.
The Easter Sunday trading rules differ from council to council. Source/Retail NZ.

Many holiday towns had long been opposed to the Easter trading restrictions because this holiday period offers a significant sales opportunity - especially given the mass exodus of Aucklanders into the regions.


In regions where councils have not permitted Easter trading, stores can only open if they have received an exemption.

Auckland's Parnell Rd is among the areas that have successfully attained an exemption for 2019.

See list of areas with exemptions:

Despite the changes to the law, restrictions remain in place when it comes to trading on Good Friday.

According to Retail NZ, stores can only open on Good Friday if they meet a collection of strict requirements.

These include:

• Your store is located in an area with an exemption (see above);
• Your shop sells only food, drink, household items, personal items, automotive fuel, lubricants and accessories; and you have only enough items to meet the needs of people who live or are staying in the area;
• your principal business is selling souvenirs and/or duty free goods; or prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold;
• your shop is located at a public passenger transport station or terminal and you sell the above items and/or books, magazines or newspapers;
• your shop is a pharmacy; or
• your shop is located in a place where an exhibition or show primarily related to agriculture, art, industry, and science, or any of those matters, is being held.

Shops that do not stick to these restrictions face fines of up to $1000 for disobeying Easter trading rules.