JACQUI DEAN (National—Waitaki)
: I move,
That the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Commerce Committee to consider this bill, should it by some miracle make it through the first reading. Amendments to the Shop Trading Hours Act have been controversial since, indeed, the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act of 1990, which removed trading restrictions except for Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and before 1 p.m. on Anzac Day. Exemptions were provided for shops selling certain types of goods, as well as for shops in specified places. However, there is now no legislative ability to grant further exemptions—and that is the problem. Easter trading is just such a contentious issue, and any proposed change always gives rise to questions about how to strike a balance between the interests of businesses and the interests of employees, alongside public recognition of religious activities. The intention of this bill, the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill, is to provide the balance between choice for employers to conduct business, protections for employees, and, of course, community interest.
This is a member’s bill. This is a members’ day. This is the
Waitaki electorate’s bill. It is just trying to fix an anomaly that exists between Queenstown and
Wānaka, where Queenstown can open over Easter but
Wānaka cannot. It is, however, not a local bill, so it is not confined to Queenstown and
Wānaka. It had to be a member’s bill, so I have chosen to make this a Waitaki District Council bill. So there is a secondary benefit contained within this bill. Not only would it overcome the anomaly that exists between Queenstown and
Wānaka, two important tourism centres for the New Zealand economy, but there is a secondary benefit there because there are shops in other local authority areas contained with the Waitaki electorate that could also open over Easter if they chose to. So maybe the retailers in Geraldine might choose to open over Easter, because it is on a major tourist route. Maybe in
Ōāmaru there are shops that may choose to open and trade over Easter, because that is on an emerging and developing tourism route. Hey, maybe Cromwell—in fact, I am sure there are businesses in Cromwell that would choose to open over Easter if they had the ability to do so. I could go through all the tourist towns in my electorate and name them. There are many that if this bill passed might choose to open over Easter if they had the ability to do so.
I bring this issue to Parliament because the Wānaka retailers have asked me to do it.
Dr Rajen Prasad: Oh, so what?
JACQUI DEAN: The member opposite says “So what?”. Maybe that speaks volumes about—
Simon O’Connor: Because they’re listening.
JACQUI DEAN: Yeah, well—maybe that speaks volumes about why this amendment should go through. This amendment should go through because commerce over Easter is actually very important to towns like
Wānaka. And I will tell that member—who lives somewhere in the North Island, if I am correct—why.
Wānaka over Easter is the most marvellous place. Every second year we host the
Warbirds over Wānaka International Air Show, and so—
Dr Rajen Prasad: Where’s the evidence that more money will be spent?
JACQUI DEAN: Evidence. Thank you. The member, the doubter opposite, is asking me for the evidence. If he does me the courtesy of listening, I will tell him. Every second year in
Wānaka we have Warbirds over Wānaka, where up to 100,000 people descend on Central Otago—so that is Wānaka, Queenstown, Cromwell, Alexandra,
even Ranfurly—to attend Warbirds over Wānaka. That is up to 100,000 people in the region. That is a figure that has been supplied to me. Those people are in Central Otago for up to 4 or 5 days. Those up to 100,000 extra people in that region want to shop. How do I know they want to shop? Because the retailers tell me that it is so worth their while opening that they are prepared to do so in the face of flouting the law, and have done so over a number of years. And why are they prepared to open over Easter? Because they need that trade. They need that trade to see them through the lean times, which all retailers have to face. That is why I am extremely happy to bring this bill to the House.
It is beyond me why the members opposite are so against a retailer making a living. What is it? What is it about a retailer making a living? I am just going to read to the House, with the indulgence of the Speaker, a submission from a previous Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District Council, Clive Geddes, who said in 2006: “Queenstown has had a general exemption from the restrictions on trading at Easter and at other times over many years. This reflects our position as an international destination where visitors and residents alike can enjoy many activities and events that would otherwise be stifled by greater restrictions. We receive no complaints about the flexibility that this offers business and the community, and it is exercised responsibly by all of the parties involved.” That was the previous Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District Council, and if a mayor is not in touch with his community, then—well, of course a mayor is in touch with his community.
I acknowledge that there are reservations and objections to Easter trading, and I am going to go over a few of those. There is—and, of course, this is something like the 11th or 12th time this issue has been brought to the House—religious objection to the liberalisation of Easter trading. I respect that position. I utterly respect the position of Christians and people from other religions who choose to celebrate the very nature of Easter—of course I do. But although I respect that position I also say that nobody is forcing anybody to shop. It is a matter of choice what one does at Easter. If one has a very strongly held religious conviction, then that is up to the individual.
I also hear of objections to Easter trading about the family. I note that there are already 11 public holidays in New Zealand and 4 weeks’ annual leave prorated, so I would argue that there is plenty of time for people to spend with their family.
I want to talk about worker protections. Although this bill is imperfect, and silent on worker protections, I want to tell the House this: should this bill get to the Commerce Committee—and I welcome the opportunity for it to do so, because I think that would give the committee the opportunity to talk seriously and in a considered way about worker protection—these are my bottom lines. Employees of shops opening to trade on Easter Sunday would have the absolute right to refuse to work on that day. If an employee’s agreement to work on that day is not given, then there would be no penalty on that worker. Where employers wish to trade on Easter Sunday, they would be required to give employees reasonable notice. And the final point I would make in this contribution is that, actually, in Wānaka, most of the people working in shops over Easter are there because they want to work. Generally, they are—
Dr Rajen Prasad: Oh, come on.
JACQUI DEAN: You see, there is the problem. The Opposition does not actually like work. It does not acknowledge that workers enjoy working. Do you know what? In
Wānaka people go to work because then they get to play on the ski fields and they get to enjoy everything that Wānaka has to offer. I will have an opportunity to make another contribution to this debate, but I certainly encourage members to look at this bill with an open mind. Thank you.
DARIEN FENTON (Labour)
: I think this is probably the sixth or seventh time since I have been in Parliament that I have spoken on an Easter shop trading bill, and I
think it is probably up to the 10th or 11th time that we have had a member’s bill endeavouring to take away the right of workers not to work on Easter Sunday. In fact, this bill also includes Easter Friday.
I was going to make some comments about my appreciation of the fact that it is members’ day today, and that members have a right to bring bills to Parliament and represent the things that they are interested in and their constituents are interested in and want to see. However, having heard the last few comments from the previous speaker, Jacqui Dean, I am not inclined to be so generous. And the disgraceful contributions from the Government on Phil Twyford’s bill I think have made me feel less generous about Jacqui Dean’s bill.
I am voting against this bill, the
Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill. I have been very interested to follow the journey of Jacqui Dean’s bill from the time it was first pulled out of the ballot. We had way back on 8 September 2010 a statement headed “Easter Trading Bill Postponed” and saying that she “will do more work on her Easter bill before it goes to Parliament. … I plan to do some work on the area of worker protection. These protections are in existing legislation but they weren’t spelt out in the bill.” Well, she has not done any work on that. She has just outlined some bottom lines. She clearly does not understand this issue of choice for workers—to choose whether to work or not. We have canvassed this issue time and again in these debates. An absolute right to refuse to work—an absolute right to refuse to work—when you are on a 90-day trial period, you can get the sack for no reason, and you do not have the right to challenge it? That is one reason why an absolute right will never work, because that Government’s laws already mean that somebody can be sacked for no reason. There are to be no penalties on that worker—well, I would hope not. The law does not allow that now. And “reasonable notice”, again, is meaningless. So the member has not done very much work on the area of worker protection—well, no work on the area of worker protection.
Can I say again that on previous bills before the Commerce Committee this area was canvassed in great detail. There were two members’ bills. I think there was a former member’s bill, actually, and also Steve Chadwick’s bill. The area was canvassed in great detail, and yet at the end of it there was no satisfaction as to being able to say to workers “You will not be forced to work on Easter Sunday.”—as it was then. Now it is Easter Sunday and Easter Friday.
Then on 5 April 2012 the member said that she was planning to withdraw Good Friday from the bill to make it more acceptable—
Jacqui Dean: Yes.
DARIEN FENTON: Well, it is still here, though.
Jacqui Dean: No, no, it’s here.
DARIEN FENTON: Oh, you have got a Supplementary Order Paper?
Jacqui Dean: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is probably not in order, but just to let you know that I have a Supplementary Order Paper that would delete “Good Friday” from the bill.
DARIEN FENTON: No, sorry.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Well, it is actually a debatable issue. I call the honourable member Darien Fenton.
DARIEN FENTON: OK, I accept that that is there. However, obviously, there are some concerns from her fellow caucus members about Easter Friday, and I suspect there will be the same ones about Easter Sunday.
But the thing that I found really interesting about the journey of this bill—this is the second time this member has tried to force workers to work on Easter Sunday—was the comment in the
Southland Times on 10 April 2012: “Moves to liberalise Easter trading
rules would not see workers being forced to turn up for work but promoted economic growth, she said. ‘The sooner the union accepts that and moves on, the better.’ ” What arrogance is that! What arrogance.
The member raised religious concern and said she has got respect for that—you know, she understands people’s Christian views—but then on the other hand she said that people will not be forced to work on Easter Sunday. Well, actually, they are. In many, many workplaces workers are forced to work on a Sunday. I spent years representing Pacific Island workers who were forced to go to work on Sunday—on White Sunday. They had no choice. The member does not understand how workplaces work. She said she respected religious objection. She obviously does not respect worker objection. She does not respect the right of workers to express a view, and she tells their union that it should just get over it—just get over it. I think that is incredible arrogance, and, if for no other reason, I would not support the bill because of that comment. I do not think she has canvassed the workers’ views in any way, shape, or form, except to tell them to get over it. That is all that the member has done. Their views are really important in this debate, because they are the ones who are going to have to turn up to work.
Let us remind ourselves that at the moment there are only 3½ days in the whole of the year when shops are closed and workers do not have to turn up to work. Honestly, what sort of society have we become when we cannot cope with not shopping for 3½ days a year? The member said that this bill will enable the shops in Wānaka and surrounds to open their businesses and make more money. The member should understand that it does not mean they make more money, and it does not mean more money is spent; it is just spent in that area instead of someone else’s area. It does not create more money by opening—
Jacqui Dean: It does.
DARIEN FENTON: It does not. It definitely does not. There is only so much money to go around. In fact, there is not much money to go around at the moment, at all. Shops can trade, as I said, on 51 out of 52 Sundays, and every public holiday except Good Friday, Christmas Day, and the morning of Anzac Day.
Colin King: How many days of the year do you get 100,000 down in Wānaka?
DARIEN FENTON: Oh, that is all that matters. All that matters to the member Colin King is the money—the money. So that Government has become a Government that cares about money over everything else—over Christian views, over family values, over workers’ rights. And have we not seen that? Are we not seeing it in the policies that are coming through from this Government: tax cuts for the rich, and immigration laws that are for people with barrow-loads of money and forget about people who are not that well off? This is another bill that attacks working people. It attacks families and it has a go at the things that we hold dear in this country and at one of the few times that workers get to choose to spend time with their family. I mean, unfortunately, if this was—[Interruption] Colin King should show some more respect, thank you—unless he is planning to take a call, in which case I will give him heaps back. Unfortunately, there is nothing coming from this Government that is going to improve the lives of workers and families. If this bill gets any way through, if it, unfortunately, got through on its 11th try—its 11th try—
Dr Rajen Prasad: Why?
DARIEN FENTON: Why? I cannot believe that there are not more important things that we could be worrying about and that the member could be worrying about. For example, did that member know that there is a hotel in Wānaka that has just fired all its workers and employed replacement workers from China? Does that member know about that? Does that member even care about that? Is that not something she should be
spending her time worrying about, instead of trying to take away 1 or 2 of the 3½ days that people do not have to go to work and, instead, can spend time with their families? People do not have to shop on those days. They can shop the day before, the day in the middle, and the day after. For goodness’ sake!
Maggie Barry: What? Do you live in the 1950s in your own mind? Things have changed.
DARIEN FENTON: Listen, “Queen Margaret”. Listen, “Queen Margaret”—3½ days a year! Do not be so arrogant. Who do you think you are—3½ days a year, and you are saying this is back to the 1950s? In the 1950s no one had to work on a Saturday or Sunday. Oh dear, oh dear! Are we not seeing it all tonight? Are we not seeing it all from those members? I hope no one votes for this bill. I hope it goes down—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Order! There are two members who are interjecting on each other who do not have the floor, and that is not permitted.
DARIEN FENTON: I urge the House to vote against this bill again, as it has very sensibly done in the past. It is a conscience vote. This is a time when members get to have a say according to their conscience. There are a number of reasons, which the member has acknowledged, that people oppose this bill. They include Christian views, they include workers’ rights, and they include the very, very important issue that we all want to see people spending time with their families. At least one of those reasons must mean something to members like Maggie Barry, although maybe she comes from such a privileged background that she does not even understand. Please vote against this bill.
LOUISE UPSTON (National—Taupō)
: I am pleased to support my colleague Jacqui Dean in the efforts to get this Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill to the Commerce Committee. I want to be very clear about my reasons for doing so and bring some perspective back to this particular bill. Jacqui Dean, as the hard-working member for Waitaki, is talking about this bill so that retailers in the Waitaki electorate—this is a small geographic area—are able to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. As the member has stated, it will be amended so that it refers just to Easter Sunday.
The purpose of doing this is that this area is recognised as an area for tourism. In November 1989 an exemption to the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 allowed retailers in Taupō to open on Sundays from 10 till 3 in recognition of it being an area of tourism activity. So I appreciate the arguments that have been put forward by the Labour member so far, but I want to just bring it back to remind the House that this bill is not suggesting this change for everyone, and it is not suggesting it for all in every area. It is a contained geographic area and one that has a specific function and purpose in terms of its appeal around tourism. As a very proud member representing a tourism-driven electorate, I do not believe we should deny those retailers the opportunity or choice, should they wish to trade on Easter Sunday for a period of 5 hours, to do so.
I just wish to remind the House that this is a constrained bill. It is a small area, the focus is tourism, and I would really like to encourage the members in the House to consider their conscience and allow this bill to be considered in a select committee from that perspective, given that it is a narrow and constrained area. Thank you.
Dr RAJEN PRASAD (Labour)
: Ni sa bula, Mr Assistant Speaker Robertson, for the third time today.
Chris Hipkins: It’s a record.
Dr RAJEN PRASAD: It is a record; thank you. Yes, it is a record. It is certainly a record on saying “Ni sa bula.” I do first want to say that I acknowledge and respect the sincerity of the member Jacqui Dean, who has brought this bill, the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill, to the House. I do that sincerely.
Hon Maurice Williamson: I can feel a “but” coming here.
Dr RAJEN PRASAD: What is that, Mr Williamson?
Hon Maurice Williamson: I can feel a “but” coming here.
Dr RAJEN PRASAD: Yes, but maybe the member should listen because I did say it with sincerity, and I mean that with sincerity. The member represents the interests of the section of the public that she represents. But I take a very particular view to these provisions. I do not know why the National Government keeps on bringing these bills to the House and putting us through this angst.
Maggie Barry: Because we believe it’s right.
Dr RAJEN PRASAD: The chattering classes from the North Shore will soon learn to listen—learn to listen. You are a first-time member. Please listen. You might learn something. It is dangerous, but the member might, because there is another view. I would like the member to listen. [Interruption] I am not like this; I am like this. All right; that is good.
My colleague Darien Fenton has raised, very appropriately, the interests of workers. I do not want to do that, because I accept what the member has said. But I do want members of that party to think about what they have advocated for in this House ever since they came in here in 2008, and this was that they were pro-family—that they were pro-family. I say to Jacqui Dean that the one indicator of all of the research that actually makes sense of all the research about family well-being is the concept of time. I take it that Jacqui Dean has not studied that, because what our families are craving is just time to be together: time to spend together, to make decisions, to have meals together, etc. Over probably decades now, we have constantly and progressively eaten into family time in this society, so much so that we now have just a small window where families can plan with confidence that they will have the time to be together. I say this quite sincerely, Jacqui, because this is a matter that we did spend a lot of time on in the Families Commission and elsewhere, studying what contributes to family well-being. [Interruption] Todd McClay knows nothing about this, because Todd McClay was the last member who raised this type of bill in the House. He failed. Jacqui Dean has raised this before, and it failed. But somehow there is some madness in members like that who keep on bringing this to the House, so we go through this period of angst.
Families say that they just want time, and at the moment what is left? Is it about 3½ days? There are 361.5 days, or something like that, available to do everything that Jacqui Dean, Todd McClay, and members of the National Government who support this bill want to do. There is plenty of time. There are only 365 days in a normal non-leap year. Why is it so difficult for members of the Government to simply accept that it is OK to say to our families that you will have these 3 days that will be sacrosanct, that nobody will be able to interfere with them, that they will be reserved so that you, as a family, can do what you want to do? There are those who will engage in religious practices, there are those who will engage in absolutely quality family time, but somehow it is so difficult for members opposite to just get to that point. That, for me, is argument enough to say to leave our families alone. Leave our families with the one thing they yearn for, and this is time to have quality time that contributes to family well-being. Our families know that this is a fact, because all the research shows us that, but here we say that it is OK.
It is not about the commercial sector. The commercial sector has every other day of the year, except for 3, where it can ply its commercial trade. There are no restrictions on that. Why is that not enough? Why is that not enough for members opposite? Why is it so difficult for members opposite to simply accept that this is sacrosanct time for the family? I argue, almost singularly, on behalf of the families of New Zealand who have told me and many others, in many, many different ways, that this is for them. Why do
we confound them? Why do we find it so difficult to accept it? Why is it that with monotonous regularity members of the National Government bring this issue to the House? Todd McClay has brought it, and this is Jacqui Dean’s second attempt at this. It has been through all of that, so why is it never enough? Why do we not just put this to rest and say, as a country, confidently, that our families deserve the time and we will enable them to have it. They have every other day of the year to do all of the shopping, to spend as much money as they want to. The argument about tourists is not that convincing, because many tourists also accept that there are cultures in the societies they visit that they have to respect, just as we respect and accept the cultures in the societies we visit. Thank you. For those reasons let us not support this bill.
DAVID CLENDON (Green)
: I will begin by supporting the words of our colleague Dr Rajen Prasad, who has just resumed his seat. He covered some of the bases that I would otherwise have mentioned. So I will cut to the chase. We understand this is to be a personal vote, but I can speak with complete confidence on behalf of myself and all of my colleagues when we say we will be very happy to oppose this bill, the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill, as we have opposed, by our count, seven previous bills that have endeavoured to liberalise trading laws on Easter Sunday. Hopefully, this one will have as little success.
There are a number of reasons for that, and not least of all is that we are not a bit convinced that workers’ rights will be protected. My colleague Denise Roche will say more about that a bit later. I would stress again that for 361½ days of the year it is pretty much open slather for stores to trade, and in a leap year they get an extra day—362½ days. So 3½ days a year are reserved for family time, for non-trading time, to a large extent at least. We are talking about restricted days—Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Anzac Day morning, until 1 p.m.
The suggestion has been put that this is a very contained and a very localised proposition, particularly focusing on Wānaka. In answer to that I would say it is the thin end of the wedge argument. If we are going to allow Wānaka to trade on Easter Sundays, how long before Dunedin puts its hand up, or Clutha, or indeed Christchurch? And we sincerely hope that Christchurch will once again become a tourist Mecca, as it has been in the past.
I think it is useful to consider what is actually at stake here when we say there may be no trading, no opening, on these 3½ days of the year. It is interesting to look at the exemptions to that rule on the Department of Labour website. It is instructive to just look at who may open on these restricted trading days. We have been offered a vision of Wānaka—tumbleweeds blowing down the main street, frustrated tourists with pockets full of money, unable to spend it. What nonsense!
Let us start off with dairies—the good old-fashioned dairy—selling milk, papers, cat food, or whatever it is you happen to need to get you through that day, the usual bits and pieces, the newspapers of the day, all of those things. Takeaways, cafes, and restaurants may open on these days. Nobody will perish for want of food. They can sit in a place and eat and drink as you would on any other day of the year. Service stations are free to trade. We can fuel our cars. Again, service stations offer quite a range of food and magazines. You can buy a fan belt, a light bulb, or whatever it might happen to be you need to buy on that day.
Duty-free stores are allowed to open to service tourists, if they choose to, on any one of these days. Genuine tourists who are passing through on their way to an airport and want to pick up their duty-free are very welcome to do so. Service providers may offer a service on these days, providing they are not selling product, so video rental stores can open. Your local hairdresser can choose to open. Your local chiropodist or your sports
masseur can choose to offer a service on any one of these days. There are abundant opportunities to spend your money if you so choose.
The list goes on. Real estate agents—you can even buy a house on any one of these days. Garden centres may open on Sunday and, of course, on Saturday. They have a day off on Friday. You shop for plants at the garden centre on Saturday and Sunday, and you plant them at your home on Monday. That does not seem onerous to me; I have done it personally many times. Any shops within a transport hub selling, again, food, drink, papers, magazines—the things that travellers want and need—are readily available on any of these days. Shops within bona fide markets, craft markets, may open on these days.
Souvenir stores in Wānaka may sell pounamu, merino, and leather products on any one of these days. They are genuine souvenirs. Give me a break when you tell me that there are people who cannot have an opportunity to spend their money in Wānaka on any one of these days. It is not the reality. Who wants these changes? It is the chain stores, the department stores, and the supermarkets—the sites that employ large numbers of employers. Most of these outlets that may open are owner-operated small to medium sized enterprises. If I owned a store, as I did for a number of years, I would have the choice as an owner-operator to open and provide goods or services to the public on most of these days.
DENIS O’ROURKE (NZ First)
: New Zealand First MPs have discussed and will oppose this particular bill, the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill, for two fundamental reasons. The first is that it is a piecemeal approach to this issue of shop trading hours on these particular holidays. The purpose of this bill is to allow the retailers within the districts covered by the Waitaki electorate to trade on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday, so it is specific to those areas, and that is a piecemeal approach, and that is really not good lawmaking. The second fundamental reason is that New Zealand First MPs believe that this uses an undemocratic process, and that there are better options for that. You see, these issues might be dealt with either on a nationwide basis through Parliament covering all of New Zealand, or locally by local government if empowered to do so. If it is done nationally, you will get consistency through the whole country, but you will not reflect local circumstances or attitudes. If it is done locally, you would get a piecemeal approach, and that is inconsistent with other areas but does allow for local circumstances to be taken notice of.
The attitude in large urban areas tends to be that because there is something of an exodus at Easter and Christmas for holiday purposes, there is a need to give all staff holidays on those days, because there is, after all, in those areas plenty of opportunity to shop on other days. The attitude tends to be different in smaller areas—smaller centres, rural areas, and holiday centres—where the circumstances are very different, because there is an influx of people and a need for access to all shopping needs even on those holidays. Local attitudes are to take economic advantage of this. So there is a significant difference in attitudes between these various areas.
Therefore, our conclusion is that there needs to be a horses for courses approach, not a nationwide one. But the method should not be for Government legislation on a piecemeal basis, as in this bill. Government should simply empower local people to decide shop opening hours for their holidays in their areas, taking account of their circumstances. But councils themselves should not make those decisions. New Zealand First believes that they should be required to either conduct a comprehensive consultation process or actually conduct a referendum, and that is the democratic approach.
Therefore, for those reasons, New Zealand First MPs could not support this particular bill. But New Zealand First MPs would support another bill to ensure that local government addresses this issue democratically, so that it takes account of local circumstances and gives everybody in the district a say—and that can be done only by referendum or by very wide consultation. And if local areas decide that in their circumstances for their reasons that they want these extended shopping hours on these holidays, then New Zealand First would support that. That would be different, as I have said, between urban areas, large urban centres, rural areas, and holiday centres. The circumstances are so different that a New Zealand - wide approach is not appropriate, but a democratic decision-making approach by referendum or by consultation is appropriate. So New Zealand First could not support this current bill for those reasons, but would support an alternative such as that I have explained.
TODD McCLAY (National—Rotorua)
: It gives me pleasure to rise to speak on the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill, in the name of Jacqui Dean, the hard-working member of Parliament for the Waitaki electorate. I congratulate Ms Dean on working hard for her constituents and bringing this bill to the House, because, although there are differences of opinion on both sides of this Chamber—and I understand and respect that—Ms Dean works hard for her constituents, she listens to them as a local MP, and she is here today with this legislation at their request. Therefore it is important that we note that.
Her bill is, to some degree, similar to one I had in the House some time ago. It will offer some choice to local people: whether they want to work or not will be their choice, whether they want to open their shops or not will be their choice, and if they choose not to, equally, it will be their choice. I believe that this issue should be one of choice. I do also note that for many parts of the country there are some people who may just want to open their shops. We can have a debate about whether that is the appropriate thing to do on these days, but in so far as Wānaka is concerned, and certainly Rotorua—my home town, where we have thriving, busy tourist destinations and these Easter weekends are extremely busy—shopkeepers and others tell us that they wish they had this choice.
So I say to Ms Dean, if looks alone would have delivered this, we would be shopping in Wānaka this year. Sadly, it will take a vote of the House. But I do ask members to consider that this is a direct request of the people who live every day in Wānaka that this House give them the chance to consider this issue for themselves. I ask members to give Ms Dean and the people of Wānaka the opportunity to make their case to a select committee. Thank you.
Hon MARYAN STREET (Labour)
: I rise to speak to Jacqui Dean’s bill, the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill. I want to acknowledge the contribution of the member for Taupō, Louise Upston, earlier. It was a respectful contribution, and respectful contributions will always be greeted respectfully. I do understand the issues that Louise Upston raised in respect of tourism areas, and they have been raised frequently in the context of the shop trading hours bills that have been put forward from time to time.
Jacqui Dean and I came into Parliament in the same year, and we served on the Commerce Committee for the first couple of years of our first term. This issue was raised not only by her but also by Steve Chadwick on behalf of the people in Rotorua as well. We tried, under the chairpersonship of Katherine Rich at that time, to make some sense of the legislation, because if anything is a dog’s breakfast in our legislative statutes, the shop trading hours legislation is a dog’s breakfast. As the Green member mentioned a moment ago, there are a range of things that are available, and a range of things that are not available, on any particular public holiday.
We struggled for some time on that select committee, in 2006 and 2007, to get some consistency. And one of the ways that we thought of getting some consistency, which members of Parliament could then, according to their own consciences, vote up or down, was by adding to the new schedule every single territorial authority in the country, so that every territorial authority could then decide whether it was in the interests of their people and their businesses whether or not they opened on public holidays. I thought that was quite an elegant solution, and it put it back to local authorities so that they could then determine how things would work best in their area.
But, unfortunately, this bill does not advance us anywhere with shop trading hours and the mishmash that it currently is. I want to give one example. I am familiar with the countryside that the member represents. I am not familiar with exactly the streets that the boundary goes down, but if I give the example of Nelson, the Nelson City Council and the Tasman District Council sit side by side. In fact, they sit so side by side that their boundary is the middle of Champion Road. On the one side of Champion Road is Nelson City Council; on the other side of Champion Road is Tasman District Council. Is there anywhere in the member’s electorate where on one side of the electorate boundary part of the Central Otago District Council will have shops and businesses, and on the other side of the member’s electorate boundary the Central Otago District Council will have shops and businesses? On one side they will be allowed to open, and on the other side they will not.
So confining this to the boundary of the electorate, which is what the general policy statement at the front of the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill says, does not help the situation. It says: “The purpose of the Bill is to allow all retailers within districts covered by the Waitaki Electorate to trade on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.” I suspect—although I do not know for sure and I would be interested if the member would address this point—that there would be shops on different sides of roads that are separated by the electorate boundary. That is one of the difficulties that we face in trying to get some consistency in this area around shop trading.
There are all sorts of other objections, which my colleagues have raised also. Whether it is worker protections, family time, or religious observances, all of those are quite legitimate reasons for people to choose to vote for or against the bill. But I have to say to the member who has brought this bill to the House in good faith—trying to represent issues of concern within her electorate—that it does not help improve the dog’s breakfast that is the shop trading hours regulations and laws. It makes it a dog’s breakfast plus one. For that reason, and because I am inherently very pragmatic about these things, I will vote against it. Thank you.
Su’a WILLIAM SIO (Labour—Māngere)
: I too want to acknowledge the bringing forward of this Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill by the member for Waitaki. I appreciate that it is an issue that the member is saying is confined to that particular area. However, this is the third or fourth time that such a bill has come before the House—
Dr Rajen Prasad: 10.
Su’a WILLIAM SIO: —10 at least—well, since I have been here. Although I have heard the member say that it is confined specifically to Waitaki, the problem that I have is that once it happens, then—
Hon Tau Henare: Only one problem?
Su’a WILLIAM SIO: —yes, only one bottle—the genie is then released.
I want to reflect to the member and the rest of the House the feeling that I have in terms of the community that I represent, Māngere, but also wider out in Manukau. I suspect there are other members here representing Manukau who will feel the same
way. When similar bills came forward some years back, in 2007, those issues were heavily debated in Manukau City Council, when it did exist. By and large the feeling of that particular council, when it did exist, was that it had to set a limit around the interests of the commercial enterprises to try to balance that out with the interests of families in the workforce. So today the view of most trade unions that I have come across is that they still believe there should be sufficient time allocated for workers to spend with their families.
I recall when the late Sir Paul Callaghan spoke at a conference—I think it was a Labour Party conference not too far from here—and said to us that in terms of where this country ought to be moving, it is towards more high-value jobs, and tourism was probably the least of these valued jobs. Therefore—
Nikki Kaye: Do you support local bills, mate?
Su’a WILLIAM SIO: —we probably should be looking at countries in Europe that do not open on Easter Sunday—
Hon Member: Is Raj Prasad still talking?
Su’a WILLIAM SIO: —let me have my turn; you can have yours after—but are more wealthy economically than our country.
The big problem I have is that we are going down the slippery slope of where workers are being forced to work over and over and over again for less and less and less. I have to ask, is this not why we once upon a time had the 40-hour working week, and the overtime and the triple time, so that we confined the working environment to 8 hours a day, allowing for the worker to have 8 hours of rest and 8 hours of leisure—
Hon Tau Henare: Are you not worried about the people down in the South Island?
Su’a WILLIAM SIO: Well, this is the point. If any business cannot survive closing on Easter weekend or on Easter Sunday, it should not be in business, really. If any business cannot pay workers a decent wage, it should not be in business. That is the fact of the matter.
But I want to raise another issue that is even more important, from my electorate. We have Māngere, Mt Roskill, Manukau East, Manurewa—it could be classified as the Bible belt. There are many Catholics, as well as other religious communities, who hold very dearly to Easter being an important event where there is a requirement for them to come together in worship, but, more important, to spend time with family. I want to ask the member Peseta Lotu-Iiga where he stands on this, because he is constantly talking religious stuff out in the community. So is he going to be voting in favour of this, against what I am told by him he cherishes, or will he support this particular bill?
Although I appreciate it is a local issue that the member is trying to bring forward, once we open up that bottle there, where do we stop? Where do we stop, and who really benefits from this? I think, if anything, we should be collectively coming together and building a better New Zealand, where we are sharing the profits and where we are making sure that we are looking after families.
MAGGIE BARRY (National—North Shore)
: I rise to support the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill. It is a very narrow bill. It is confined to Wānaka. Queenstown has these rules and regulations; why should Wānaka not? For those on the other side of the House who do not even know where it is, I would point out it is a tourism destination. Dr Prasad has taken sanctimony to a whole new level. We are—[Interruption] For list MPs, he does—for list MPs, who do not understand what it is like to actually serve an electorate and represent its interests. Jacqui Dean has actually done an excellent job. I agree with Ms Street that it is a dog’s breakfast.
This piece of legislation is an excellent amendment. I totally support it. It is a narrow bill. I think that Dr Prasad lives in a secular State of his own creation and is an
extremely sanctimonious person. I completely disagree with him and, as a list MP, he should get a grip. I entirely support Jacqui Dean as she fights so hard for her electorate and for an excellent amendment. Thank you.
Jacqui Dean: Mr Speaker—
DENISE ROCHE (Green)
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I thought I was No. 10 on the speaking order and that Maggie Barry was—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No. When we look at the list, the Greens get one call and that call was taken by David Clendon at No. 5, so—
Chris Hipkins: Point of order, Mr Speaker.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Hang on, I am just dealing with this here. This is a first reading of a bill by a National member, and when we look at the schedule here, the Green Party had a call. It has one call in this debate and that was taken by David Clendon, so unfortunately the member—because the debate is now finished. We have had all the calls now and we just have the right of reply.
CHRIS HIPKINS (Senior Whip—Labour)
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I checked this out with the Clerk at the Table as this debate began, because I am aware that this matter has traditionally been a conscience vote and members have indicated that it would be a conscience vote. The Clerk advised me that the speaking list for a conscience vote is a guide only, and, in fact, it is up to the Speaker to determine when the debate is done on a conscience vote. Although I understand you would use that as a guide, you are not bound by it in the way that you would be for a regular set-piece debate.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): I hear what the member says and I have done exactly that. I have taken how it has traditionally been done as a guide and the Green Party has had a call. The National Party had similar calls, as per the normal first reading speeches, and I have ruled accordingly. [Interruption] Is that a point of order?
Hon ANNETTE KING (Labour—Rongotai)
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It appears in your ruling that you have ruled as if it was not a conscience vote—as if it was just ordinary first reading speeches.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): The conscience vote will be determined once I have put the question. I will go through the process once we have had the member’s reply, and then I will explain the procedures. I know that some people want to treat this as a personal vote, but the process it will go through will be how it is normally done.
JACQUI DEAN (National—Waitaki)
: I am very proud to bring this Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill to the House. I am really proud to bring this bill to the House, because it is what the Wānaka retailers and the Wānaka community want me to do. It is what retailers, chambers of commerce, retailers’ associations, and citizens throughout New Zealand want me to do. I do follow on a grand tradition of members trying to bring some sense into this Parliament—colleagues like my friend Todd McClay, who previously brought a similar bill to this House—to drag us into the 21st century, because this bill is about growing the economy. This bill is about giving local economies, particularly in tourist towns, the opportunity to trade when they want to trade, and the opportunity for people to shop when they want to shop.
I do not subscribe to the notion put by the Opposition that there are poor workers in New Zealand. I do not subscribe to it. I do not subscribe to the notion that workers in New Zealand are so put upon that they are forced to work when they do not want to work. This is the 21st century. We have good holiday laws. We have good legislation to protect workers, and although this bill is silent on them, I invite members of the
Opposition from throughout the House to support this bill’s referral to a select committee in order to have a decent discussion on this very point. If members opposite decline to do that, then I do not think they take this issue seriously.
This issue is about providing choice to New Zealand. This issue is about the economic viability of small towns in New Zealand like Wānaka, Cromwell, Geraldine, and Rotorua. This proposed legislation is about overcoming anomalies that already exist in the law, where up to 100,000 people will come into the Wakatipu Basin for the Warbirds over Wānaka International Air Show. They cannot shop in Wānaka. Where do they shop? They shop in Queenstown. Why do they shop in Queenstown? Because the law allows it.
There is one thing that the members opposite are right about, and it is that this area of law is a dog’s breakfast. This is my imperfect attempt to overcome this dog’s breakfast. I invite members opposite to open their eyes, open their minds, and send this bill to a select committee for consideration. I invite them to do so. I invite them to join us in the 21st century. Unfortunately, I regret that they will not. Thank you.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Members—[Interruption] Order! This is the process we are going to follow. I am going to put the question. I am going to announce the result. At that stage, any member can ask for a personal vote. I know there are members who want a personal vote, and I am prepared to accept one, but this is the process that we follow.
A personal vote was called for on the question,
That the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill be now read a first time.
|Adams||Dunne (P)||Key (P)||Smith L|
|Auchinvole||English (P)||King C||Smith N (P)|
|Barry||Flavell (P)||McClay||Tolley (P)|
|Bennett D||Foss (P)||McCully (P)||Tremain (P)|
|Bennett P (P)||Goldsmith||McKelvie||Wagner|
|Collins (P)||Joyce||Sharples (P)||Teller:|
|Arden J (P)||Graham (P)||Mallard (P)||Shanks|
|Ardern S (P)||Hague (P)||Martin||Shearer (P)|
|Borrows (P)||Heatley (P)||Mathers||Sio (P)|
|Chauvel||Hughes||Norman (P)||Tirikatene (P)|
|Clark||Huo (P)||O’Connor D (P)||Turei (P)|
|Clendon||Hutchison (P)||O’Connor S||Turia|
|Cosgrove (P)||Jones (P)||O’Rourke||Twyford|
|Cunliffe||King A||Parker (P)||Walker|
|Curran (P)||Lees-Galloway||Peters (P)||Wall (P)|
|Dalziel (P)||Little||Prasad||Williams (P)|
|Dyson||Lole-Taylor||Robertson G (P)||Woods|
|Faafoi (P)||Lotu-Iiga||Robertson R (P)||Young (P)|
|Goff (P)||Mahuta||Sage (P)||Hipkins|
Motion not agreed to.