43 days ago

Poll: Should all Auckland shops be allowed to trade on Easter Sunday?

Caryn Wilkinson Reporter from Community News

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Newmarket Business Association chief executive Mark Thomas said the restrictions are “ridiculous and out of date”.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.

*Please put NFP if you do not want your comments used by Stuff.

Should all Auckland shops be allowed to trade on Easter Sunday?
  • 58.3% Yes
    58.3% Complete
  • 38.9% No
    38.9% Complete
  • 2.8% Unsure- it's too complex
    2.8% Complete
1205 votes
More messages from your neighbours
1 day ago

Queen St redesign: Businesses lose court bid to halt council redevelopment work

Caryn Wilkinson Reporter from Community News

A group of downtown Auckland businesses have lost their bid to temporarily halt work on a planned upgrade of Queen Street, due to begin on Monday.

In a statement, Save the Queen Street said it was disappointed an interim injunction to delay work was unsuccessful, but said members would continue to prepare for a more substantive court hearing, aimed at pushing back against the redevelopment plans.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the court’s decision, saying the redesign would make Queen St more people-friendly and accessible.

The council intends to improve pedestrian spaces between Shortland and Customs streets, limit traffic to a single lane each way with bus priority in the evening peak, with work scheduled for the next six weeks.

Save Queen Street, which includes commercial landlords and retailers, argued that ongoing trials of new arrangement could run for years, damaging commerce in an already struggling strip.

“The current arrangement of the street has caused economic harm – business are up against it,” their lawyer Sam Lowery told Wednesday’s injunction hearing.

The council’s lawyer Padraig McNamara said given Save Queen Street wanted to stop the improvements to the 2020 temporary arrangement of plastic sticks and concrete blocks, its injunction bid was “counter-intuitive”.

Businesses have been hit by the absence of foreign tourists and overseas students, and from more office staff working from home, the court heard.

Lowery told the High Court foot traffic was down 40 per cent or more, 90 of 345 retail shopfronts are empty, and part of the problem is the council’s treatment of the street over the past year.

In a statement released after the court decision on Thursday, Goff said the council would continue to work with all stakeholders to progress improvements to Queen St.

While the court decision means work can begin as planned on May 10, Save Queen Street has put forward 10 further challenges that will be heard at a substantive court hearing. A date for that hearing has not yet been set.

The redevelopment will see pavements widened with high-quality decking, new street furniture and vibrant green spaces with native planting and a new pocket park.

Todd Niall.

Hi neighbours,

What do you think of the redevelopment plans for Queen St?

*Please put NFP if you do not want your comments used by Stuff.

M
3 days ago

What's On: Forest & Bird; Chlöe Swarbrick

Marty from Mount Albert

MP Chlöe Swarbrick on matters important to our rohe: protection of the Hauraki Gulf and urban trees in particular, with ample time for questions and discussion.
Forest & Bird; Chlöe Swarbrick
  • Mt Eden War Memorial Hall
1 day ago

Million-dollar dumps: The Auckland car park worth $82.5 million

Caroline Williams Reporter from Auckland Stuff

Downtown Auckland is going through huge transformation with its various streetscape and transport projects. But in stark contrast, several plots of land worth hundreds of millions of dollars have sat as car parks since buildings were knocked down in the 1980s.

The Elliott St car park sits on a 4417 square metre plot of land, valued at $82.5 million.

The land has sat undeveloped as a car park - where an hour will cost you $19 - since the Royal International Hotel was demolished in 1987.

It was purchased by Singapore company NDG Asia Pacific (NZ) Limited for $53m in 2012, and in 2017 the company was given approval by the Overseas Investment Office to build and operate a 52-storey, five- star Ritz-Carlton Hotel, with 300 guest rooms, four floors for hotel facilities, six for retail and five for car parking.

The development is expected to cost $350m, with the start of construction dependent on the completion of City Rail Link. However, the resource consent for the tower is due to expire in October.

Click 'read more' for our full story.