Skip to content

Proposed Easter Trading Policy will give shop owners the choice to open

Waikato District Council is proposing to adopt an Easter Trading Policy which will allow shops within the Waikato district to open on Easter Sunday.

A recent change in legislation means that it is now up to individual councils to decide if they introduce a local policy for shop trading on Easter Sunday. At the moment shops can’t open on Easter Sunday unless they meet certain criteria.

Council is seeking feedback on the issue. The submission period opens tomorrow (14 December), and will close at 5pm Friday 17 February.

“It’s important that people have their say by 17 February, even if they agree with the proposal or if they previously told us their thoughts during our first consultation in October,” says Acting Chief Executive Tony Whittaker. “At the moment a number of shops in our district can’t open on Easter Sunday. If the policy is adopted it will give business owners the choice. It will be up to the business owners whether they decide to open or not.”

To tell us what you think, please fill in the short online submission form at [Note: this will be available from 14 December]

For more information, including the draft policy and Statement of Proposal, please visit our website The Statement of Proposal includes information about shops that can open now, what shops would be able to open if the draft policy was adopted and what happens next.

Why is Waikato District Council looking at introducing this policy now?

Recent changes to the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 mean that councils can introduce a local policy for shop trading, allowing retailers in their districts to open on Easter Sunday. You’ll find more information here:

Up until now, what shops have been able to open on Easter Sunday?

Under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 only certain shops were able to open on Easter Sunday. They included shops such as petrol stations, cafes and restaurants, pharmacies and plant retailers. You’ll find a detailed list in our Statement of Proposal or on the Employment New Zealand website:

If Waikato District Council adopts the proposed Easter Trading Policy, what would this mean? Would all shops be able to open?

If the proposed policy is adopted all types of retail shops throughout our district (except those selling alcohol for consumption off-site) would be able to open. Whether they do open or not is up to the business owner.  

Under the Act, the policy cannot specify any criteria, restrictions or hours that shops could open on Easter Sunday. This means that shops could choose to be open normal business hours.

If Council doesn’t adopt the proposed Easter Trading Policy, what will happen?

Status quo would remain. Only shops exempt from the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 would be allowed to open if Council does not develop an Easter Trading policy.