Despite Wanaka retailers failing to be granted exceptions to trade
over the Easter weekend, stores threw open their doors after reportedly
being secretly told no Labour inspectors would be visiting the tourist
Almost all shops opened to customers over the weekend, knowing there would be no repercussions, Radio New Zealand reported.
The area welcomed about 100,000 visitors for the Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow.
retailers would admit to RNZ they knew Ministry of Business, Employment
and Innovation (MBIE) officials would be skipping the town, but Waitaki
MP Jacqui Dean said she was aware inspectors would not be visiting.
"I know the Department of Labour officials weren't here this weekend, from what I've heard.
"That's not the answer is it? Because the law is still in
place and if retailers open they are still breaking the law and that's
just not satisfactory."
Ms Dean had twice attempted to introduce
legislation exempt Easter trading rules in Wanaka, but her private
members bill was voted down.
She was now speaking with colleagues
about making changes to retail trading hours and liquor licensing laws
to get around the Easter trading legislation.
Sally Gordon, owner of a clothing store, told RNZ retailers had no option but to open over the weekend.
need to be open in order to survive because we have quiet times as well
- also a tourist destination and people who come here expect things to
do, they want to go shopping, they want to go out to dinner, they want
to have drinks."
MBIE's Labour department refused to confirm labour inspectors were told not to go to the tourist town over the weekend.
A spokesperson for the ministry told RNZ investigators would only look at Wanaka Easter trading if a complaint was made.
They would not confirm if complaints had yet been made.