Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill - First reading
I would like to start by acknowledging Marama Fox from the Māori Party. Kia ora, Marama. That was a very heartfelt and thoughtful speech, and I am really pleased I was here to witness it. So thank you for that.
I am used to working on Easter Sunday, as a grape grower and winemaker. If we were not out there harvesting grapes or bird-scaring, and we happened to be finished early, I would be down at the classic fighters air show in Marlborough, which is on every second Easter. In the alternate years it is at Wanaka, which has its own version of it—Warbirds over Wānaka.
Thousands of people travel to both those places in alternate years to go to those air shows, and the number of people who complain because they cannot shop when they are in those areas is phenomenal.
The retailers and the people who work in those shops actually want to work. They want to be able to open. They want to be able to provide a service, and there are plenty of people there who want to utilise that service.
I am somewhat of a lapsed Anglican, and I do not have any particular strength in my religious views. But I think we have to acknowledge that in modern New Zealand there are many, many religious groups, and the many different faiths have different religious days they wish to mark.
If we go down the path of having no flexibility in this area it would be quite unjust to not recognise those other religious faiths’ particular days. This is a great bill. It gives the choice to the local people, and I commend the bill to the House.