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Supermarkets stay open in Wānaka over Easter

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In the scenic town of Wānaka two local supermarkets have made headlines by choosing to stay open during the Easter Weekend, despite rules that usually require stores to close on certain holidays like Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

These supermarkets, New World Wānaka and New World Three Parks, did this without any special permission or being considered essential stores.

Easter Weekend is a time when many shops across New Zealand must close to observe the holiday, but there are some exceptions. For example, the nearby town of Queenstown is allowed to keep its stores open due to an exemption dating back to the 1980s, but Wānaka does not have this exemption.

The decision by these Wānaka supermarkets to remain open comes as the town expects tens of thousands of visitors for the holiday period, partly because of the famous Warbirds Over Wānaka airshow, returning for the first time in six years after being paused due to the pandemic. The supermarkets aimed to provide locals and visitors with access to food and groceries throughout the holiday.

This isn’t the first time these stores have opened during Easter without permission; they were fined in both 2021 and 2022 for similar actions. The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) has expressed disappointment in the stores’ repeated disregard for the trading laws.

The Easter trading rules can be confusing, with some stores allowed to open if they meet certain conditions, like being in a tourist area or selling essential items. However, Wānaka’s situation has sparked debate about whether these rules need to be updated, especially with the town’s growing popularity as a holiday destination.

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