Napier shops will continue to open on Easter Sunday, following a decision by council today.

Council heard 13 spoken submissions , as well as receiving 177 written submissions.

Submitters included Robin Gwynn, who won a court case against Napier City Council for failing to have adequately consulted on the issue the last time the policy was introduced.

He said Easter Sunday needed to be protected one of the three and a half days of the years people did not have to go to work, allowing for family time.

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First Union's Mike McNabb, who represents the retail workers in Napier, also spoke about the importance of family time.

"Families, whanau, communities, should come before commerce at Easter."

He said he represented many workers who found it hard to tell their boss they would not work days they were told to, even though the policy states retail workers have a choice to not work on Easter Sunday.

He said some workers felt if they did not work when asked, they would be overlooked for promotions or a pay rise.

Napier City Business Inc submitted in favour of the policy.

Acting manager Steph Kennard said they supported retailers choice to open or close.

She said she struggled to see the difference between allowing retailers to open, and hospitality businesses, who are already allowed to open on Easter Sunday nationwide.

"Many people who believe that shopping shouldn't be made available Sunday will go to a hospitality provider and buy a coffee or a meal on the day, and those staff are still there in those stores."

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Greg Harford from Retail New Zealand also supported the policy to allow shops to open.

He said employees could choose to work, employers could choose to open, and residents and visitors could choose to shop or not.

He said currently shops are the only businesses with restrictions on opening on Easter Sunday, and under the law shop workers had special rights to say they did not want to work.

Councillors mainly talked about choice and family during their discussions, be it choice or retailers, choice of workers, or family time.

Deputy Mayor Faye White said that, while she is religious and personally goes to church on Easter Sunday, she wanted to support the retailers of Napier.

Councillor Maxine Boag said she was voting for the majority of submitters, who were against the proposal.

She said she wanted to put people and families first.

The vote was eight to three in favour to adopt the policy.

The policy will allowshops to trade on Easter Sunday. The policy extends to retail shops and supermarkets, with dairies, cafes, services stations, garden centres, pharmacies and souvenir and duty free shops are already allowed to open on Easter Sunday.