Easter trading laws are a dogs’ breakfast but successive attempts to sort them out have failed.
The mess is compounded by Department of Labour inspectors having to work on Good Friday and Easter Sunday to prosecute businesses which choose to open and whose staff choose to work.
Now there’s some sense being brought to the issue:
Labour Minister Simon Bridges signalled yesterday that in the future officials may rely solely on complaints because inspection staff were needed elsewhere.
“There are some very serious issues in relation to migrant workers and exploitation in this country,” he said.
“It is a question of using our resources and the labour inspectorate better.”
This could mean “not necessarily having inspectors out on every corner on Easter trading weekends, enforcing the laws”, he said.
“I don’t think, and my sense is, New Zealanders wouldn’t necessarily want us to be over-enforcing that, having inspectors out there all the time.”
Acting on complaints is one thing, deliberately setting out to find businesses in breach of the law when there are other more pressing matters for staff to attend to is quite another.
Finding businesses exploiting any workers but particularly migrants who are often more vulnerable is a far greater priority than looking for businesses choosing to open with staff who choose to work.