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Easter trading ban flouted

Published: 6:14PM Friday March 21, 2008 Source: ONE News

While most shops closed their doors on Good Friday for Easter, as usual there were some  prepared to flout the law.

But they might be surprised to learn the results of a poll on Easter trading.

For Real Groovy music store, the decision to open on Friday was real simple.

"There's usually a lot happening in Welly (Wellington). That's why we open on public holidays, but especially this weekend. So we're going to be cranking today," says Pet Johnson of Real Groovy.

And not even the prospect of a $1,000 fine is a deterrent.

"We just pay the fine and get on with it," says Johnson.

Music lovers might be pleased they can get a new CD for Easter, but a new poll shows most New Zealanders don't want the shops open during the holiday weekend.

The poll conducted last week by Research New Zealand asked if people thought the law should be changed so all shops could open on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday.

Sixty-four percent said "no", 32% "yes".

Under the current law, service stations, dairies, pharmacies and souvenir shops may open.

Labour Minister Trevor Mallard this week announced there are no plans to widen the law, citing split public opinion. That has angered the Retailers Association.

"Let's do away with all the stupidity. Let's do away with all the Labour (Department) inspectors spending half their weekend chasing round making sure stores aren't open, and people make their own minds up," says John Albertson, CEO of the association.

But  the minister's decision has pleased church groups.

Garden centres may open on Easter Sunday but not Good Friday and two ONE News visited on Friday morning had already been visited by Department of Labour investigators.

As for Real Groovy, they did not escape a fine. But the inspector waited until ONE News left the shop before giving them their notice.

"We'll cover it, that's for sure," says Johnson.