New Zealand has developed an open market economy over the past two decades, as the government has given up control of many areas of domestic economic regulation, including the elimination of agriculture subsidies and controls on prices and wages. The trend in retail establishments is moving from small shops to supermarkets and shopping centers. Several retail establishments have converted to self-service operations. There is very little retail mail-order trade. Automobiles and large appliances are increasingly being sold on the installment (hire-purchase) plan. General and trade papers, regional publications, and television and radio are used extensively as advertising media.
Business hours vary, especially since the introduction of staggered work hours, known as glide time. Offices open as early as 7:30 AM and remain open until about 6 PM . Stores may be open at any time between 7 AM and 9 PM , Monday through Saturday. Saturday trading is becoming more prevalent at popular beach resorts near the larger urban areas. Sunday trading is confined to "dairy shops," permitted by law to sell a restricted range of foodstuffs. All offices and banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and statutory holidays.