The doors to Cambridge shops are likely to remain shut next Easter Sunday while neighbouring districts will be open for business on the sacred day.
Waipa District Council’s strategic planning and policy committee considered public submissions on Easter Sunday trading and voted to retain the status quo.
The committee’s decision was yet to be ratified by the full council but all indications were it would be approved.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ
The move has disappointed the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce which said the council was “lacking in vision”.
The chamber’s survey of its members revealed 59.6 per cent were in favour of Easter Sunday trading.
Council received 546 submissions on the issue with 70 per cent of submitters asking shops to stay closed.
No one, either opposed or in support of Easter Sunday trading, took the opportunity to speak to the submissions when they were considered by the committee.
Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest and deputy mayor Grahame Webber voted against the status quo. They felt Waipa businesses should have the option to open on Easter Sunday.
Councillor Andrew Brown abstained from voting.
Chamber chief executive Tania Witheford felt the decision should be about freedom of enterprise.
“It’s about providing business with the choice and opportunity to trade. After all, it’s the businesses who are prepared to take all the risks.
“If people vote with their feet at Easter and stay away, then their point is made.”
Under current employment law, an employee can decline the opportunity to work and there can be no repercussions.
“If this is not working, then fix that issue, not the right to trade,” Witheford said.
“The chamber’s role is to provide the best platform for business and as such we are committed to delivering our businesses with the choice to trade.
“There are already anomalies based on the type of business that may open on Easter Sunday, so why not take this opportunity to level the playing field?”
Hamilton City Council rejected Easter Sunday trading, having received 225 submissions on the issue with 71 per cent opposed to shops opening.
Retailers however, can choose to open in a number of other nearby areas, including in the Waikato, Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki, Matamata-Piako, Otorohanga and Waitomo districts.