Ashburton District Council is supporting a proposed Bill to allow shops to open on Easter Sunday in local communities.
The Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill 2015, which is currently before a Select Committee, proposes giving local councils the power to create bylaws that would allow shops to trade on Easter Sunday. It would also allow employees to refuse work on Easter Sunday.
The Council has decided to make a submission in support of the Bill in principle, but agrees with Local Government New Zealand's stance that this would be better addressed through a Shop Trading Hours policy instead of a bylaw.
Council's Environmental Services Group Manager Jane Donaldson said in recent years there had been no requests for Easter trading in Ashburton. However, it was important that Council had "flexibility" in case that changed, she said.
"If there are requests in the future or if tourist areas, such as Methven, want to allow trading in their retail stores then we want to be able to respond to that. This Bill would give us more options."
Ms Donaldson said the Bill would also allow communities to show greater "local diversity".
"Communities that have a strong religious or spiritual belief in the importance of Easter Sunday will be able to keep the day as it is, with no or minimal trading," she said. "On the other hand, communities that have different views, or offer a tourist destination, will be able to take a different approach."
The deadline for submissions is 21 January 2016.