Councillors vote 7-3 for Easter Sunday trading; Mayor abstains
By Jeremy Smith, KIN Local Govt. reporter
Kapiti shops will be able to open on Easter Sunday next year.
The council vote was split seven to three.
Councillors Jackie Elliott and James Cootes voted against Sunday trading and mayor Gurunathan abstained. Elliott had called for each vote to be recorded.
Councillor David Scott who was absent had indicated he opposed Sunday trading.
The final vote followed two months discussion during September and October.
Councillors received 239 submissions, with one petition contained 326 signatures. These were heard at November’s council meeting.
One third of submissions for Easter Sunday trading
Nearly a third of the submissions supported Easter Sunday shopping.
These included Retail New Zealand, Hospitality New Zealand, Food Stuffs North (owners of PaknSave and New World), Michael Hill, Mitre 10 Mega, Simply New Zealand, Coastlands Shoppingtown and Kapiti Chamber of Commerce.
Freedom of choice was cited as the main reason for opening the shops, along with “outdated laws”, making Kapiti a visitor destination and not being governed by a specific religion.
Two thirds against
More than two third of submitters opposed the extra shopping day with collective submissions from 14 different church groups and the First Union representing retail workers which included a petition of 326 signatures.
They cited the loss of time for people to spend with family, friends and whanau including religious activities. Richie Morris of First Union, said all work and no play makes “Jack and Jill a dull person”.
Morris who had appeared at a previous council hearing opposing Sunday opening was the only public speaker on the trading proposal at Thursday’s council meeting.
Mayor Gurunathan said while he did not want to see people suffer, local politicians had to “balance views” and faced accountability every three years.
Councillors then voted without further discussion.