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Easter Sunday Trading Policy Review

 Should we continue to allow shop trading on Easter Sunday?

We are reviewing the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy (the Policy), which currently allows all shops in Masterton/ Whakaoriori to trade on Easter Sunday if they wish to. We are now inviting community feedback on whether we should continue, change, or revoke the Policy. Consultation is open from 10 November until 12 December 2022.

Background Information

In 2016, the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 (the Act) was amended to allow all 67 councils in New Zealand to choose whether to allow shops in their city or district to trade on Easter Sunday.

A local Easter Sunday shop trading policy may permit shops to open on Easter Sunday either in parts or the whole of the district. 

However, a policy may not:

  • permit shops to open only for some purposes; or
  • permit only some types of shops in the area to open; or
  • specify times at which shops may or may not open; or
  • include any other conditions as to the circumstances in which shops in the area may open.

Masterton District Council adopted our Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy in 2017. The current policy applies to all of Masterton/Whakaoriori and allows shops to trade on Easter Sunday if they wish to. Without a policy, shops in the Masterton District would not be allowed to open unless they fit the criteria set out in Part 1 of the Act

Other regulations about the sale of alcohol and associated matters still apply. Alcohol sale and supply is regulated under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. Alcohol cannot be sold on Easter Sunday (unless the off-licence holder makes and sells grape wine or fruit or vegetable wine on their premises).

Staff have the right to choose not to work on Easter Sunday if they are asked to by their employer.

Before You Make a Submission, Please Read the Statement of Proposal 

We think that the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy is working well for the Masterton/Whakaoriori community and propose that it continue with no changes. We are keen, though, to hear from employers, employees, and the wider community about what they think.

Read the full statement here: Statement of Proposal (PDF, 708 KB)

How You Can Have Your Say

We welcome your feedback on the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy. You can do this by:

  • completing an online submission form (this will take you 3-5 min to complete)
  • completing a physical submission form available to download here: Submission Form (PDF, 443) or pick up from our Customer Service Centre, 161 Queen Street or the Masterton District Library and either:
    1. Drop if off to the Customer Service Centre 161 Queen Street, Masterton
    2. Post to PO Box 444, Masterton 5840
  • emailing your submission or feedback to: [email protected]
  • calling our Team on (06) 370 6300

All submissions (excluding contact details) will be made available to the public and media via the Council website.

What Happens Next?

Following the November/December 2022 consultation period, all feedback received will be considered by the Council.  A Council hearing will be held on 8 February 2023 and subsequent deliberations meeting on 22 February 2023. Following the Hearing and Deliberations meeting, Council will then meet to consider the adoption of a policy that will take effect for Easter 2023.


Useful Documents

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can open if we have a policy?

Any shops in the Masterton District excluding for the sale or supply of alcohol.  Alcohol sale and supply is regulated under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. Alcohol cannot be sold on Easter Sunday (unless the off-licence holder makes and sells grape wine or fruit or vegetable wine on their premises).  

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 regulates the sale and consumption of alcohol, so it is safe and promotes drinking responsibly. The sale and supply of alcohol is restricted on Anzac Day morning, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Christmas Day; see sections 46 to 49 of the Act.  

Who can open, whether or not we adopt a policy?

The table below is an extract of information from the website and shows those shops that are able to open regardless of whether Council adopts a policy or not.   

Is the shop a… 

Then they can open so long as… 


Service station or dairy 

The only goods they sell are: 

  • food 
  • drink 
  • household items  
  • personal items 
  • petrol, oil, car parts and   accessories. 

The goods they sell are items people can’t put off buying until the next day, such as baby formula or pet food, and the number of goods for sale is no more than needed to meet the needs of people in the area. 

Takeaway, restaurant, café 

They only sell prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form that it is sold. 


Shop providing services, rather than selling goods, such as a video rental store or hairdresser 

They only provide a service, such as renting videos or cutting hair. 

They don’t sell any goods, such as videos or hair products. 


No conditions. 


Garden centre 

The only restricted trading day they can open on is Easter Sunday. 


Shop in premises where an exhibition or show is taking place. This includes markets, craft shows and stalls at these exhibitions and shows 

The shop/stall must be within the building/location of an actual exhibition or show. 

The exhibition or show must be devoted entirely or primarily to agriculture, art, industry, and science, or any of these. This is quite a strict requirement, and to be considered ‘devoted’ to a show or exhibition a shop must be selling goods that are connected in some way with the show. For example, arts and crafts at an art and craft show, or farming supplies at an agriculture show, rather than general goods. 

Real Estate Agency 

No conditions. Real estate does not fit within the definition of goods as defined by the Act. 


Shop primarily selling only souvenirs 


Yes, you can open so long as the criteria for whether or not an item is considered a souvenir is that it is connected to a New Zealand place or New Zealand culture. 



Further guidance can be found here  

How is a ‘shop’ defined?

A shop is a building, place, or part of a building or place, where goods are kept, sold, or offered for sale, by retail; and includes an auction mart, and a barrow, stall, or other subdivision of a market; but does not include: 

  • a private home where the owner or occupier’s effects are being sold (by auction or otherwise); or 
  • a building or place where the only business carried on is that of selling by auction agricultural products, pastoral products, and livestock, or any of them; or 
  • a building or place where the only business carried on is that of selling goods to people who are dealers, and buy the goods to sell them again. 

This is the same definition provided in section 2 of the Shop Trading Act 1990 

Do I have to open or work Easter Sunday if the Council has a policy?

No, shops do not have to open on Easter Sunday. Employees maintain the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday without any repercussions for their employment relationship. 

Easter Sunday is not a Public Holiday under the Holidays Act 2003; therefore workers are usually paid their standard hourly rate (not time and a half). No day in lieu is applied if they do work. 

Who enforces the policy?

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is responsible for enforcing the Policy. 

What were the community views in our last consultation?

The community were consulted as part of the adoption of the 2017 Policy. There were 93 responses at the time. There were a range of views including: 

  • that a policy would support economic benefit and bring the retail sector into alignment with the hospitality sector 
  • that people may feel pressurised to work  
  • the importance of non-trading days for family time, and  
  • inconsistency with religious beliefs. 

Although the majority of the submissions had been against the policy, the pre-consultation survey, where the result was different, showed that there was a diversity of opinion. 

You can find a full summary of submission views in Report 013/17 11. 013_17 Council 2017-02-22 Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy (Hearings and Deliberations Advice and Submission Summary).pdf  and Survey Results are available in Report 2016/16 10. 206_16 Council 20161207 Easter Trading (Initial advice and outcomes of Community Survey).pd 

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