Despite Wanaka retailers failing to be granted exceptions to
trade over the Easter weekend, stores threw open their doors
after reportedly being secretly told no Labour inspectors
would be visiting the tourist town.
Almost all shops opened to customers over the weekend,
knowing there would be no repercussions, Radio New Zealand
The area welcomed about 100,000 visitors for the Warbirds
over Wanaka International Airshow.
No retailers would admit to RNZ they knew Ministry of
Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE) officials would be
skipping the town, but Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she was
aware inspectors would not be visiting.
"I know the Department of Labour officials weren't here this
weekend, from what I've heard.
"That's not the answer is it? Because the law is still in
place and if retailers open they are still breaking the law
and that's just not satisfactory."
Ms Dean had twice attempted to introduce legislation exempt
Easter trading rules in Wanaka, but her private members bill
was voted down.
She was now speaking with colleagues about making changes to
retail trading hours and liquor licensing laws to get around
the Easter trading legislation.
Sally Gordon, owner of a clothing store, told RNZ retailers
had no option but to open over the weekend.
"We need to be open in order to survive because we have quiet
times as well - also a tourist destination and people who
come here expect things to do, they want to go shopping, they
want to go out to dinner, they want to have drinks."
MBIE's Labour department refused to confirm labour inspectors
were told not to go to the tourist town over the weekend.
A spokesperson for the ministry told RNZ investigators would
only look at Wanaka Easter trading if a complaint was made.
They would not confirm if complaints had yet been made.