Thursday, 20 March 2008

Shop Opening: A Conundrum

There are 3 ½ days when almost all shops are required to be closed under the Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act 1990. These days are:

  • Christmas Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday; and
  • Anzac Day, until 1.00 pm
I didn't venture off the policies (the estate for non Scots who are reading this) on Christmas Day so was not aware of whether everything was closed or not. Having said that I know of many people who went to restaurants for Christmas Dinner.

So I am really puzzled. I have been told that on Good Friday and Easter Day New Zealand closes down: no shops open, no cafés open and everyone holidays. Nothing wrong with that then. Well no, except that New Zealand is one of the few officially secular states in the world and Easter is a Christian celebration.

One of the Christian Church's senior representative in the Country said on the News this evening that 56% of New Zealanders profess to be Christians. OK so is that an argument for closing shops on Christian festivals? His view was "Yes". If the number became significantly less than 50% would that still be an argument? "Yes, because people need a day when they can 'chill out.'" Not attend church then? Somehow it didn't all stack up with me.

Not that I have any problems with shops closing if the law says so. It's just that it seems a bit arbitrary and definitely not secular to me. The Government is refusing to comment because a recent consultation document has left a hung opinion with many of the Labour Party's supporters working in the retail sector.

I have read the Government's web page on the subject and I can't make out exactly what the situation is for cafés. A café may sell "prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold". I haven't worked out what that means. I'm told all cafés close. What happens to the massive tourist industry on which the Country relies?

Well I shall be venturing forth tomorrow because I have a Golf Croquet match in the afternoon. It is a semi-final of the Sweetapple Competition. I'm playing one of the best players in the Club. If I were to win I would be playing one of my Doubles Partners in the Final. We shall see.

Tomorrow's Blog will reveal all.

1 comment:

  1. "prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold" presumably means anything from a packet of crisps to a Scotch pie, namely something you can eat without having to cook it. However, even a bag of crisps would have to be opened, so may not meet the 'immediately' criterion. Hmm, lots of scope there for a lawyer or five.