Businesses won't open on Easter Sunday in Central Hawke's Bay after the council decided yesterday not to adopt a draft local Easter Sunday trading policy allowing shops across the district to trade if they wished.

As with other councils across the country, CHB had the option to create its own bylaw and allow more shops to open, other than current ones such as dairies and service stations, on Easter Sunday under the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act which came into force in 2016.

A hearing yesterday considered a recommendation to allow shops in all or parts of Central Hawke's Bay to trade on Easter Sunday from 2018.

Earlier consultation prompted 17 submissions.


Of the 17, former mayor Hamish Kynoch was the only submitter that chose to speak, and he urged the council to retain the status quo.

"People in Central Hawke's Bay, people who work in retail, should not have their opportunities to enjoy time with friends and family reduced."

Submissions in favour of the policy cited the potential for future growth in the region, said it was a retailers' choice whether to open, and spoke of people going outside the district to shop or travellers passing through not having a reason to stop.

When it came to the vote, most councillors, and Mayor Alex Walker, favoured the status quo, except Tim Aitken, Brent Muggeridge and David Tennent.

Councillor Gerard Minehan was in favour of retaining Easter Sunday as a non-trading day, because he did not believe people would take up the chance to shop.

"In the past few years, Central Hawke's Bay business shop owners have every Christmas period opened up on the last three Sundays before Christmas.

"We advertised in the local paper, and local radio, and put posters in our main windows advertising we were open. The majority of shop owners said it did not work, very few public came shopping and some said they got no one in the door."

Deputy mayor Ian Sharp was dissatisfied that the matter had been delegated to councils to resolve.