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Council votes 'yes' on Easter Sunday trading

Shops will be able to open in Tauranga on Easter Sunday from next year.

Tauranga City Council voted seven to three in favour of introducing a policy allowing trading on Easter Sunday.

In a three-hour-long meeting councillors passionately debated the issue after hearing verbal submissions from leaders in business and religion in Tauranga.

They also considered the results of three surveys that, together, showed that between 50 and 60 per cent of Tauranga residents wanted to be able to pop to the shops on Easter Sunday.

Respondents could be broadly split into two groups: those who think Easter Sunday is a holy Christian day people can spend with their families and those who think that is - to quote one respondent - "religious rubbish" and people should be allowed trade and shop.

In a 1pm meeting today Tauranga City Council will make a call on whether or not to start allowing all of the city's shops to open on Easter Sunday.

Councillors will consider the results of three sets of public consultation:

- A telephone survey of 401 residents, which came out 60 per cent for Easter Sunday trading
- Nearly 900 formal submissions with an almost 49.5/50.5 per cent split for/against 
- An online snapshot survey with 5736 respondents, 49 per cent in favour of Easter Sunday trading

A dozen of the formal submitters were scheduled to address the council in person at today's meeting.

The Shop Trading Hours Act of 1990 was amended in 2016 to allow councils to make policies permitting trading on Easter Sunday.

The law does not allow councils to regulate the types of shops that can open or their opening hours.

In August, Auckland joined Hamilton in rejecting Easter Sunday trading, leaving Tauranga the remaining undecided city in New Zealand's economic golden triangle.

The Western Bay of Plenty District Council was also considering introducing an Easter trading policy. Public submissions are due to close tomorrow .

Survey results

Phone survey

- 401 people interviewed

- 60 per cent for Easter Sunday trading

- 38 per cent against

- 2 per cent not sure

- Conducted by a research company

- Quotas for age, gender, ethnicity and ward to create representative sample

- Margin of error of +/- 4.5 per cent at 95 per cent confidence level

Formal submissions
- Submitted online, via email and in hard copy
- 897 submissions
- 49.5 per cent (444) for Easter Sunday trading
- 50.5 per cent (453) against

Pre-consultation snapshot survey
- Posted with water rates bills
- 5736 respondents
- 49 per cent in favour of full unrestricted trading on Easter Sunday
- 36 per cent opposed to Easter Sunday trading
- 15 per cent for allowing Easter Sunday trading in specific zones

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