The contempt some business people show for the laws of the land gets bigger every Easter.
The deal seems to be that if you are a corporate law-breaker the authorities will turn a blind eye but if you are some other sort of crim, then you should be caught and (if Alf is sitting on the bench) flung into jail for a long time.
It’s bollocks and makes it hard for Alf to press for all law-breakers to be rounded up and punished.
But that, sadly, is the way things have turned out.
According to this report at Stuff:
Supermarkets which opened in contravention of Easter trading laws did a good trade as shopper numbers in Marlborough swelled thanks to the Omaka Classic Fighters Airshow.
This is a bit like saying shoplifters who stole goods in contravention of the laws on theft did nicely, thank you, from their stealing of groceries at the weekend.
Both Pak’n Save Blenheim and New World Blenheim were open on Sunday.
Pak’n Save Blenheim owner operator Mark Elkington said they were open for restricted hours from 8am to 6pm, rather than 7am to 10pm, and had a busy day of trade.
That’s akin to saying the shoplifters could have emptied the shelves but left plenty of stuff behind for paying customers because they didn’t want to be 100 per cent law-breakers.
They have a nice story to justify their actions:
“We knew from our customers that they wanted us to be open, and from the numbers we saw today [Sunday] it proved that right.” The store was closed on Good Friday but was very busy on Thursday and Saturday, Elkington said. “Thursday was busy with people leaving town for the weekend and stocking up.”
In much the same way the shoplifters – or any burglar – could say they were able to sell the goods they stole at bargain-basement prices to very grateful mates at the local pub, and they were meeting a demand in the market for cheaper goods.
In the light of this, Alf is astonished that a big retail company has endorsed law-breaking.
Sad to say, Foodstuffs has done exactly that.
A spokeswoman for Foodstuffs New Zealand said New World Blenheim staff had received positive feedback from customers yesterday.
“With such large numbers of people from out of town for the air show, people really appreciated being able to get groceries and stock up on key items.”
And if shoplifters were caught getting out of the shop with a few goodies?
Yep. Foodstuffs would be calling in the cops and demanding prosecutions.
The same won’t happen in the case of the trading laws being defied because we politicians know the law is an ass when it comes to Easter trading but we can’t muster a majority to vote for appropriate reforms.
We have tried to make the best of a bad deal by getting shop inspectors to stay at home at Easter, and pretend nothing untoward is going on out there.
It’s risible nonsense.
Alf’s colleague, Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith, is of a mind to take up the reform cause.
He is quoted as saying he has called for trade to be allowed after 1pm on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Good luck with that.
He will have to persuade some of our caucus colleagues that this is a good idea.
Bill English, for example. And Tim Macindoe.
They belong to a party which is dedicated to promoting free enterprise but they are apt to shy off when this issue comes into considerations. Thanks to them and some other Nats reform efforts have been stymied in the past.
Alf would he happy to support a new bill that aims to let shopkeepers open whenever they want.
This does not mean he is happy that the existing law – no matter how flawed – is being flouted.
If you want to go out and bat for law and order, you have to go out and bat for all laws to be observed, not just the ones you happen to agree with.