Restrictions on trading over Easter have frustrated Auckland retailers desperate for business in the wake of four Covid-19 lockdowns.
Only shops selling certain goods can legally trade on Easter Sunday, and those breaching conditions can be fined up to $1000.
But Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says critics have left it too late, as the process to change trading rules can take over a year.
Local government has had the power to rule on whether retailers can open on Easter Sunday since the National government passed the responsibility down in 2016.
Prior to this, only shops that sell necessities, such as dairies, service stations, and pharmacies, were given exemptions to trade.
Thirty-nine of the country’s 67 councils have created bylaws to date allowing retailers to open if they want, but Auckland, Wellington, and other major centres remain opposed.
Newmarket Business Association chief executive Mark Thomas said the restrictions are “ridiculous and out of date”.
“There are so many discrepancies in the law it seems a bit ludicrous,” he said.
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Passenger numbers on a bus between Auckland city and the airport are still down 80 per cent compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sky Bus was forced to suspend its Auckland City Express and North Harbour Express services in March 2020 following the Government-imposed border restrictions and first Covid-19 lockdown.
The Sky Bus Auckland City Express, which departs downtown Auckland and travels to the airport via the northwestern motorway, resumed in July with a limited timetable.
However, current patronage for the 40-minute service is down 80 per cent compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic, Kinetic head of New Zealand operations Calum Haslop, who manages Sky Bus, said.
Meanwhile, the Sky Bus North Harbour Express service, which was north Aucklanders’ only direct link to the airport, is yet to resume.
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