“My Member’s Bill could be before Parliament this evening for its first reading. It would remove the extra burden on businesses by relieving restrictions on trading on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. 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," says Mr Baillie. 

“Until very recently, Tāmati Coffey owned two bars in Rotorua. Tāmati is in a unique position in the Labour caucus to understand how this law will benefit not only small business owners, but also the rights of employees.

“I have written to Mr Coffey urging him to reconsider, even offering to talk it through over a beer – but Labour is forcing him to vote against this bill.

“Union organisers make up 30 per cent of Labour’s caucus. That’s far more than Labour MPs who have owned, or own businesses. It’s a shame Tāmati is so outnumbered he can’t talk some sense into his colleagues, or at least explain the realities of running a business.

“It just doesn’t make sense that bar staff spend much of Easter telling customers when they can drink, how long they have to drink it, how much they are required to eat and what they have to eat. How about we start treating adults like adults?

“At my restaurant and bar in Nelson, our staff have to lecture adults about how they can have a glass of wine with a salad but not with a bowl of fries. On Easter Saturday you have a drink at a pub, on Sunday you have to eat a meal within an hour of a drink.

“It’s not too late for Tāmati to talk to his colleagues ahead of this Bill being read in Parliament tonight and to do what’s best for employees and small business owners.”

A copy of the letter to Tāmati Coffey can be found here.

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Chris Baillie