Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy Review

Current Consultations

Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy Review

Statement of Proposal

Reasons for policy review

The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 was changed in 2016 to remove inconsistencies in the way Easter Sunday trading occurred across New Zealand. Generally, most shops were not allowed to trade on Easter Sunday except for those granted an exemption including:

  1. Dairies;
  2. Service stations;
  3. Food takeaways, restaurants, cafes;
  4. Souvenir shops;
  5. Pharmacies; and
  6. Garden centres.

The law change allowed territorial authorities to develop local Easter Sunday shop trading policies that allow shops (other than those already exempt) to open on Easter Sunday. These policies have to be reviewed every five years, in consultation with the community. Council is keen to undertake this review prior to Easter 2022.

Council’s current policy

Timaru District Council adopted an Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy in 2017, allowing shops to open on Easter Sunday if they choose to.

It is important to note that other regulations, including the sale of alcohol, still apply to Easter Sunday trading and that staff have the right to choose not to work on Easter Sunday.

What we are consulting on

While Council is proposing to keep the policy the same, we are keen to hear your views on whether this is the best option, or whether we should consider changing the policy. There are three options available:

  1. Keep the policy as it is (Council's preferred option) – Allow trading in the whole District on Easter Sunday;
  2. Scrap the policy – Revoking the policy would mean that only those shops granted an exemption by the Shop Trading Act are allowed to trade.
  3. Change the policy – allow trading on Easter Sunday only in specific parts of the District, eg Geraldine, or Timaru.

Advantages and Disadvantages of these options are:


Advantages and Disadvantages

Keep the policy as is

Council’s preferred option

This option would allow all shops within the Timaru District to continue to trade on Easter Sunday if they choose to do so.

Council recognises the importance of the retail sector to the district, and this policy would allow shop owners the choice to open on Easter Sunday. Residents and visitors to the District would therefore have the option to shop if they choose to do so.

A policy that applies across the whole district avoids any confusion about which shops will be able to open on Easter Sunday, and removes any element of perceived unfairness by having different rules for different parts of the district.

The decision whether to trade on Easter Sunday remains with the shop owner.

Scrap the Policy

Under the Shop Trading Hours Act (the Act) 1990 only a limited range of shops are permitted to open on Easter Sunday. This option preserves limited retail trading on Easter Sunday.

Repealing the policy will be seen as a benefit to some shop owners, residents and visitors and employees for recreational and religious reasons.

Others will equally see this as a disadvantage.

Change the policy

This option would allow shops to open in specified areas of the district.

The disadvantages of this option are:

  • the potential confusion about which shops can open
  • a   perception that having different rules within the district is unfair on shop   owners, shoppers, and employees

View Council's existing policy here

Download a full copy of the consultation document here

Have your say

Consultation on the Easter Sunday Trading Policy has closed.


Submissions open

16 February 2022

Submissions close

18 March 2022

Hearing (if required) and Council Meeting to consider feedback and decide on Easter Sunday Trading Policy

5 April 2022

Privacy Statement

All submissions (including name and contact details) will be included in public documents, at Council offices and Libraries/Service Centres and on Council’s website. Personal information will be used for submission administration purposes such as contacting you if you want to speak at the Council hearing.

All information is held by Council, and you have the right to access and correct personal information.

Last updated: 25 Mar 2022