New Easter Sunday trading rules

Date: 12th October 2016

Easter trading has always been a contentious issue in Wanaka. In one of the busiest weekends of the year (notably every second year when Warbirds Over Wanaka runs) most retailers have been required to close up shop on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But that is set to change for Easter 2017.

girl with easter egg basket

Current restrictions on Easter trading

Currently, the law restricts most businesses from opening on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and until 1pm on Christmas Day and Anzac Day.

New Easter trading rules

With an amendment to the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990, from Easter 2017 the Queenstown Lakes District Council will be allowed to decide whether shops in the region may open their doors on Easter Sunday. This is in response to growing demand from both retailers and the public.

However, employers cannot make employees work that day.

Employer obligations

For employers who plan to open on Easter Sunday you must tell staff of their right to refuse to work. This must be done:

  • between eight and four weeks before Easter Sunday, or
  • as soon as possible if new staff join your business less than four weeks before Easter Sunday.

Employee rights and obligations

For employees, the law change means they can:

  • refuse to work on Easter Sunday without giving a reason and without repercussions — but they must tell you they’re not going to work
  • raise a personal grievance against you if they believe they’ve been:
    • made to work Easter Sunday, or
    • treated badly for refusing to work Easter Sunday.

An employee who doesn’t intend to work Easter Sunday must tell you in writing within 14 days of receiving the right to refuse. This can be by letter or email.

More information

Ministry of Business Innovation & Enterprise



Posted in: Alexandra, Latest News, Queenstown, Wanaka