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Shop opening hours

There are 3 ½ days when almost all shops are required to be closed under the Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act 1990. These days are:

What shops can open on restricted trading days?

Is your shop one of the following? Then yes, you can open so long as:
Dairy The only goods you sell are:
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Household items
  • Personal items
  • Petrol, oil, car parts and accessories
The goods you sell are items people can’t put off buying until the next day, such as baby formula or pet food, and the quantity of goods for sale is no more than needed to meet the needs of people in the area.
Service Station The only goods you sell are:
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Household items
  • Personal items
  • Petrol, oil, car parts and accessories
The goods you sell are items people can’t put off buying until the next day, such as baby formula or pet food, and the quantity of goods for sale is no more than needed to meet the needs of people in the area.
Take away bar, restaurant, cafe You only sell prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold  
Duty free store You are only selling duty free items  
A shop providing services, rather than selling goods, such as a video rental store or hairdresser You only provide a service, such as renting videos or cutting hair You don’t sell any goods, such as videos, or hair products.
Real Estate Agency No conditions, real estate does not fit within the definition of goods as defined by the Act  
Pharmacies No conditions  
Garden centres You can only open on Easter Sunday  
A shop at any public transport terminal or station You only sell books, magazines and newspapers, or duty free items/souvenirs, or food that has been cooked/prepared and is ready to be eaten  
A shop in a premises where an exhibition or show is taking place. This includes markets, craft shows and stalls at these exhibitions and shows The shop/stall must be within the premises of a bona fide exhibition or show The bona fide exhibition or show must be devoted entirely or primarily to agriculture, art, industry, and science, or any of these. The Department of Labour considers that to be quite a strict requirement, and that to be considered ‘devoted’ to a show or exhibition a shop must be selling goods that are connected in some way with the show. For example, arts and crafts at an art and craft show, or farming supplies at an agriculture show, rather than general goods.
A shop selling only souvenirs The criteria for whether or not an item is considered a souvenir is quite strict. To be considered a souvenir the Department of Labour considers that items must be connected in some way to a place or culture in New Zealand.  

Who can tell me if I am allowed to open?

If your shop is listed in the table above then yes, you can open provided your shop meets the required conditions. If your shop is in the premises of a show or exhibition or your shop sells souvenirs, then you are strongly advised to contact the Department of Labour before assuming you can open. Shop owners are responsible for determining if they meet the criteria above.

If your shop is not listed in the table then you must have an area exemption to open (see below), otherwise you cannot open.

If you have a specific question or need assistance to determine if you can open contact the Department of Labour on 0800 20 90 20, or write to us at PO Box 105 183 Auckland Central 1030, or contact us by email.

Aren’t some areas exempt?

A limited number of areas, generally tourist resorts such as Taupo and Queenstown, are covered by exemptions to the trading restrictions. Some shops in these areas can open on restricted days, but only if the exemption order allows.

It is no longer possible for shops covered by area exemptions to change them, or for new exemptions to be granted. The terms of these exemption orders remain fixed as at the time they were granted. If you have any questions regarding area exemptions please contact the Department of Labour on 0800 20 90 20 or write to us at PO Box 105 183 Auckland Central 1030, or contact us by email.

Is opening on a restricted trading day an offence?

Shops that don’t fit into one of the exemption categories commit an offence if they open and trade on restricted shop trading days. The “occupier” of the shop may be liable for a fine of up to $1,000.

The occupier of a shop includes:

How are “shop” and “goods” defined in the Act?

A “shop” is a building or place where goods are kept or sold by retail. It includes an auction mart, barrow, stall or other parts of a market. It doesn’t include:

“Goods” includes personal items other than liquor, which is covered by the Sale of Liquor Act 1989.