‘Perfect example’ of need to revisit laws

New World Three Parks was one of two supermarkets open in Wānaka on Good Friday, despite not...
New World Three Parks was one of two supermarkets open in Wānaka on Good Friday, despite not being allowed to trade. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Two Wānaka supermarkets once again flouting Easter trading laws provide the "perfect example" of the need to revisit Easter trading laws, a local MP says.

Despite the law requiring most shops to be closed, New World Three Parks and New World Wānaka, both part of the Foodstuffs South Island co-operative, opened their doors to customers across the long weekend, including on Good Friday.

They did so without an exemption or essential store status.

Both stores were previously fined $750 for breaking the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 for opening on Good Friday in 2021 and 2022.

A Foodstuffs spokesperson said the decision to trade was because of the influx of visitors to the area over the Easter weekend.

"With tens of thousands of visitors expected to come into town over the holidays, the two New World stores in Wānaka took the decision to open throughout the Easter holidays, including Good Friday and Easter Monday.

"Their motivation is to make sure the local community and visitors alike have the convenience of access to food and groceries from a full-service supermarket throughout the break."

Queenstown has an exemption to trade on Good Friday but Wānaka was not included in it, despite being part of the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Both New World stores had given their staff the option to work over the Easter break with enhanced pay and time off in lieu and neither store sold alcohol on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, the spokesperson said.

Act New Zealand Southland list MP Todd Stephenson said the situation in Wānaka was a "perfect example" of why changes needed to be made to Easter trading laws.

"You’ve got a major event like Warbirds Over Wanaka, a lot of people coming to obviously enjoy that event over the Easter period.

"Businesses having the option to open would make sense."

In January, Act list MP Cameron Luxton submitted a member’s Bill to the ballot to remove Easter trading restrictions.

The same Bill was lodged by former Act MP Chris Baillie, but was voted down when drawn from the ballot in 2022.

Act wanted to leave the decision of whether to trade to business, rather than relying on "complicated" rules and restrictions, Mr Stephenson said.

"Businesses in Wānaka, I think, would welcome the change to be able to decide the hours they would operate over Easter.

"I think a lot of them would make the choice to open and to serve the people who are visiting."

Changes to trading laws would benefit consumers as well.

"People want to be able to enjoy their Easter break ... [and] would enjoy the option of being able to go to more places over the Easter weekend."

ruby.shaw@odt.co.nz