The retail workers union is praising parliament for defeating a bill which would have allowed shops in MP Jacqui Dean's Waitaki electorate to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
The bill went down 70-49 on a conscience vote on Wednesday night.
Ms Dean, a government MP, said towns in her central Otago electorate were suffering because they couldn't open while nearby Queenstown was exempt.
"Lots of people visit Wanaka, Geraldine and other places over Easter and do you know what happens? They all go shopping in Queenstown," she told parliament.
Some MPs who spoke against the bill during the first reading debate said retail staff would be forced to work over Easter.
Others said Easter trading laws shouldn't be changed piecemeal.
Ms Dean said they were a mess anyway but didn't convince enough MPs to save her bill.
Retail Union secretary Maxine Gay says employees wouldn't have had a choice about working over Easter.
"Last night's vote protects the remaining three-and-a-half days of the year when retail workers can spend some time with their families," she said on Friday.
"Shop workers will be delighted by the defeat of yet another bill which would have made it harder for them."
There have been two previous attempts by MPs to free up Easter trading in Rotorua. Both were defeated but not by the margin suffered by Ms Dean's bill.