Retail NZ calls for changes to Easter trading laws

Multi coloured easter eggs.
Photo credit: File

Easter trading laws are being crucified by retail experts.

Councils have final say over the rules, which see many shops close. Other rules focus on alcohol, and in many instances you can only buy a drink at a bar - if you're having also having meal.

Greg Harford from Retail New Zealand told Newshub it's peculiar.

"In an off-licence or a retail store you're not typically allowed to purchase alcohol at all on Easter Sunday. It's inconvenient for customers and there's just no good reason for these sorts of regulations."

Harford said two-thirds of councils allow shops to open, but none of the major cities are moving to do the same yet. Instead customers are expected to panic and buy as much as they can before the next round of closures on Sunday.

"The reality is that we've become accustomed to being able to shop seven days a week and if there is a widespread closure of shops managed by Government regulation then customers are often keen to get out and stock up ahead of that."

You will still be able to items like plants on Sunday, just don't count on needing to buy anything super important.

"A garden centre is allowed to open on Easter Sunday, but not a hardware shop with a garden centre attached," Harford said.

"There's some real unfairness in there."

Unions are opposed to changing the Easter trading laws, saying it's important to allow workers some time off.

"The union has run a campaign to keep Easter Sunday as a day when workers cannot be compelled to work," First Union says on its website.

"Counting Easter Sunday, shop workers only have three-and-a-half days a year when most shops are closed."