AM co-host Ryan Bridge starts petition for Government to 'turn a blind eye' to Easter trading laws

AM co-host Ryan Bridge has started a petition for the Government to "turn a blind eye" to Easter trading laws as New Zealand welcomes Australian tourists into the country for the first time since the trans-Tasman bubble.

The Government announced last month that, after two years of being locked away amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the international border would finally reopen to Australians from April 12 and visa waiver tourists from May 1. 

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will announce whether the Government will move New Zealand out of the "red" traffic light setting at 1pm on Wednesday.

But the timing of the border re-opening and the potential shift to orange isn't the best for businesses with Easter weekend just a few days away. 

Almost all shops must be closed under the Shop Trading Hours Act on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

This will mean businesses like nightclubs, bars and restaurants cannot open and not capitalise on Australian tourists arriving in the country.   

Bridge announced on AM he has started a petition on titled Turn a blind eye to easter booze rules. 

So far over 900 people have signed the petition in just a couple of hours since it was posted. 

Bridge said he started the petition because Kiwi hospitality businesses need as much help as they can get right now. 

"I am going to start a campaign this morning for these poor bars and business owners and particularly nightclubs," Bridge said. 

"If you go into a nightclub you have to sit down, it's very hard to dance if you're sitting down." 

If the Government does shift New Zealand to orange in the traffic light system, there will be no gathering limits for any indoor venues like nightclubs. 

This could see a boom in trading for businesses but Good Friday and Easter Sunday mean almost all businesses have to be closed.  

"So you must be closed on Friday and on Sunday, if you are going to go out on Saturday night it has to be over by midnight," Bridge said. 

"I just think what the Government needs to do is give us a wink or a nudge or a gentlemen's agreement and just say you know what, this weekend we are not going to enforce our Easter trading weekend rules."

Fallow AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green agreed with Bridge but worried if the Government was interested in the idea if they could change the laws in time.  

"This is their big weekend, it's their big comeback and people aren't going to be able to drink past midnight or not go out at all on Sunday," Chan-Green said. 

"It will be too soon for them [Government] to change those rules and laws entirely."

Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick
Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick Photo credit: AM

Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick told AM she didn't support the idea and said when things moved too quickly to open up overseas people simply haven't followed suit.

"It's really important that people do feel safe in order to get out there and have fun," she told AM.

"I think you've seen that reflected in the news last night, those venues that have continued to use those things like vaccine passes.

"Simple letting rip won't achieve those same outcomes and you can see that in jurisdictions across the world. 

Watch the full video above.