Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Easter Trading Hours and what to do about them? PS Offside re Flag

Let's start with the Postscript: apparently I am offside with the whole of the Maori Anglican church on changing our flag! For my professed commitment to changing the flag, see here.

Easter Trading Hours in NZ: the debate about these has been resurrected.

(For o'seas readings: currently, with the exception of a couple of tourist areas, retail shops may not open on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. This includes garden nurseries and hardware stores, allegedly spoiling the holiday weekend for those wishing to garden or to build things in the garden. Regularly some of these stores flout the law, headlines, TV interviews spliced in with shots of people in church.)

What is a Kiwi Christian to do about these hours?

Obviously many if not all Kiwi Christians would prefer that there be no change to these hours.

First, that guarantees that many workers - not all, of course, because nurses still nurse and caregivers still care - have complete freedom to participate in services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is especially important on Good Friday when some like to worship at 10 am, some at 12 noon and some at 3 pm.

Secondly, we have a keen sense that there are very few sacrosanct days for retail workers. I think I am right in saying that if these two days go, then we are left with ANZAC Day up till 1 pm and Christmas Day as the only days when shops are both guaranteed to shut and shops actually do shut rather than flout the trading laws. Is it too much for the business community to not trade on three and a half days of the year?

Yet we have to be realistic and see that the pressure to change the laws rises bit by bit and one day will not be resisted. Should we give way now? Should we - my preferred option - compromise now so there is something of a win-win?

My suggestion is that, analogously to ANZAC Day, we propose to the gummint that Good Friday and Easter Day are sacrosanct holidays until 1 pm. [UPDATED: A commenter below observes to me what I have missed, that change to Good Friday is not being considered at this time.]

I know that leaves those retail workers preferring to worship at 12 noon and/or 3 pm a bit on a limb (though rights for them to not work, without penalty, could be included in the change). But it does offer those who must buy a plant or a tin of paint a window of opportunity on both days.

What do you think?

I am asking about trading hours, not about your views on me and my infinitely flexible pragmatism :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter

Good Friday (or in Garden Centre speak, Easter Friday) is not part of the gummint proposal; so your 1pm suggestion need not apply. Also Good Friday is a statutory holiday, so making shops close all day gives many hard workers on the minimum wage a real paid holiday. Easter Sunday is not a statutory holiday, so the Good Friday logic is absent. My objection is that this proposal does not fix the arbitrariness. Allowing Councils to determine who opens will allow inconsistent results depending on the particular Council. Parliament should look at it all properly instead of this half baked idea which diverts attention from the health and safety fiasco and the lame duck flag debate.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
Wise words.
Though I didn't realise that a flag with a lame duck on it is an option :)

Jean said...

Well I am not against the status quo with shops such as dairy's and eating places such as tea-rooms providing services to tourists and others but I don't really see the necessity of garden shops etc being open, considering one does have Easter Saturday and Monday to do these other activities.

I think the bigger issue, given we are a secular based country, is the conditions under which retail personnel work. I overheard a conversation where a worker who usually worked mondays in a cafe didn't turn up for work one day (ANZAC day substitute) assuming because it was a national holiday she had it off unless asked. Actually, legally she had to work for her usual pay so was docked a days holiday.

Also the requirements to work weekends without options seem unfair, I know a christian who gave up her caring job once because they wouldn't accept not rostering her on Sunday's. Most employees who work split shifts or or shift work of other professions get some sort of compensation for such be it extra money or days off, why not retail? Back in the day I got paid more for waitressing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings than during the week.

It does seem a little selfish that us would be consumers bemoan not being able to do what we want on the few days shops shut yet do not mind that it means others have to work.

Proposal, how about put the power in the hands of the workers, as for the major stat holidays workers get more pay and a day in leiu retailers may open if they have staff willing to work by choice. With safety guards so staff aren't pressured/blackmailed into agreeing to work. And also include legislation whereby those with religious affiliations can choose not to work on their day of worship.

Father Ron Smith said...

My thought on this subject, Peter, is that we are not a theocratic state. I'm pretty sure that most Christian people who really want to avail themselves of the worship opportunities available for 'Holy Days' (origin of holidays) will finds ways of doing so. I'm sure this is one of the reasons for the Roman Catholic Saturday Night 'Vigil Masses' - so at least one Church has already made accommodation with Sunday secularisation.

The most important thing is that workers have the right to refuse to work on occasions they consider to be 'holy' to them - especially those days that are officially listed as 'statutory holidays'.

Incidentally, it would seem that the most pervasive reason for not attending religious worship on Sundays is the wide-spread practise of sporting activity - something that many Kiwis practise with 'religious' fervour.

Peter Carrell said...

Religious fervour? Sport? Fanaticism? St Richie of Kurow?

I couldn't possibly comment :)

Jean said...

I keep being misfed information .... a Catholic friend said to me that had Saturday evening Mass as an option as it suited people better than getting up on Sunday morning!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jean
Nick might comment on that ... but it is not the best explanation I can think of for parishes that have Saturday evening Mass even when they have (say) a 9 am and an 11 am Mass, or even a 5 pm Sunday Mass.

No, I think it is a response to change in Sunday lifestyles and the 'obligations' of the world (e.g. to work, to play sport) competing with the sacred obligation to worship God in the Mass.

Jean said...

Hi Peter

😄 ... you are right ... it was no doubt my friends reason for attending mass on a Saturday evening!

I believe the actual reason is the ancient understanding of Sunday being a 24 hour period beginning on Saturday evening, so one may attend mass anytime during that period.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

For Catholics, this is a slightly different issue from convenience. Holy days of obligation (including all Sundays)require Catholics to assist (technical term) at mass. Canon 1248(1) starts the clock running "the evening" before. In Christus Dominus, Pius XII said this was after 4pm. So, it's not an accommodation of secular culture, rather an acceptance that if you put an obligation on people, they need a chance to comply. I go to more Vigil masses than any others, though my Anglican friend does tell me I am a cheat. I cannot deny that it suits.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
By your own testimony, quite a lot hangs on the word 'slightly'.
By my own observation of habit and practice, ditto re 'slightly'!
It is also useful, another observation, in rural parishes where one priest has multiple centres to say Mass. A Mass or two on Saturday spreads the load (and, of course, means worship is scarcely about convenient times for worshippers, unless they wish to trek miles across the countryside).
I personally think that Anglican rural parishes could usefully consider this approach also.
Cue someone writing in to say that it already happens ... but it is not happening in any Anglican rural parish with which I am acquainted.

Bryden Black said...

To be sure now Peter; the RCC is just a bit Jewish with its clock - that's all! Nihil Obstat St Paddy