Prime Minister John Key says Easter trading laws aren’t working well and need to be changed.
He’s right on both counts, the law is an unholy mess.
Anyone can trade in Queenstown and Taupo but only some can in neighbouring Wanaka and Rotorua.
Outside the designated tourist areas a petrol station or dairy can sell magazines and milk but a book shop and supermarket can’t.
We were in Wanaka at the weekend, the town was full and almost all shops were open every day.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a statement saying it doesn’t discuss its enforcement approach with external parties and that it takes a reactive approach to trading laws, only investigating when complaints are made.
As of 1pm today, MBIE had received 18 complaints, most of them in the North Island, but one from Wanaka. . . .
At least we now don’t have the ridiculous situation of MBIE staff working to police those who shouldn’t be working, but having some busy-bodies reporting businesses doing what they shouldn’t in one place when they could in another isn’t much better.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has been trying to get some sense into the situation but it’s a conscience vote and with the left block voting the union way she hasn’t been able to get the numbers.
But one of the guests on RadioNZ’s panel last week came up with a compromise that might work – treat Good Friday and Easter Sunday like Anzac Day – have all businesses close in the morning but able to open in the afternoon.
This would be a compromise which won’t please everyone, but it would be better than the unholy mess we have now.