Prelates Appeal for Easter Sunday Rest

New Zealand Is Asked to Keep Restrictions

| 1649 hits

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, FEB. 21, 2007 ( Bishops have asked Parliament to avoid putting profit over people, as legislation aiming to lift work restrictions on Good Friday and Easter Sunday is soon to be debated.

"We believe that if restricted trading on Easter Sunday -- and Good Friday -- is lifted, workers will not be adequately protected from pressures to work on that day," the bishops wrote, "thereby depriving them of opportunity of spending quality time, not just for worship if they are Christian, but with their families, and in sporting, cultural and leisure activities."

The bishops told members of parliament that the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the additional provisions proposed by the Commerce Select Committee are insufficient for protecting employees' rights to practice their faith and spend time with their families on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

"We believe the government should do more to promote a work/life balance," the bishops said. "Extended shopping hours will not achieve it, but the few days when shop trading is restricted provide some opportunity to strengthen and develop this balance."

The prelates' appeal to Parliament focuses mainly on giving priority to family time.

"The importance of spending adequate quality time together, especially for parents and children, is vital for strengthening family relationships," they said. "As Cardinal Thomas Williams pointed out in an earlier statement, 'If profit is to take priority over people, the outcome will be a society less human and more stressful for individuals, families and the community at large.'"

Citing the long hours that New Zealanders work, the bishops "ask our Members of Parliament to view the social rather than commercial aspects of this proposed legislation, and to exercise their vote in the interests of the workers and families of New Zealand."