ACT MP Cameron Luxton has lodged a private member’s bill to relieve the restrictions on trading on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

The same bill was lodged by former ACT MP Chris Baillie, but was voted down when drawn from the ballot in 2022 after Labour forced its MPs to vote as a bloc, instead of allowing them to use their conscience as has traditionally been the case for bills involving alcohol or religious holidays.

“If my bill is drawn from the ballot, there’s a good chance that Parliament will finally overhaul our antiquated Easter trading laws,” says Luxton.

“Forcing businesses to close over Easter is a paternalistic relic of an old-fashioned New Zealand that just doesn’t make sense for a diverse modern nation.

“Businesses with narrow margins feel real financial pain from the annual Easter shutdown, and hospo workers don’t tend to enjoy enforcing silly rules around whether adults can have a pint with lunch.

“My bill will remove the extra burden on businesses by relieving the restrictions on trading on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In short, if you want to trade, you’ll have the freedom to do so. And if you want to unwind at your local with a glass of wine, minus the meal, you can do that too.

“The Bill also looks after workers as it retains the existing employee protections that apply in respect of Easter Sunday and extends these protections to Good Friday.

“In 2016 the Government kicked the can down to local councils but most of the population still lives under restricted trading rules. That half-measure has ended up adding even more complexity to our regulatory system.

“ACT is committed to unwinding dopey regulations and Easter Trading is a great place for me to start. I’d like to thank Chris Baillie for his advocacy around this cause. It’s an issue everyone has an opinion on and I can’t wait to raise hell about it in the run-up to Easter.”

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