Little claims more public holidays are good for small businesses

December 9th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Meanwhile Labour leader Andrew Little said there needed  to be a proper commemoration of the land wars.

“If we can find a space to have a public holiday I wouldn’t disagree with that either. We are at a time when more and more New Zealanders are comfortable about coming to terms with history both the good and the bad” including remembering the large loss of life in the wars, estimated at about 2750 including 2000 Maori.

Little said he would not rule out a public holiday.

“The first step is to say ‘let’s recognise it let’s have a formal commemoration’. And If we can find a space and a way to honour it, through a public holiday as we do for other conflicts that have led to mass deaths, then I wouldn’t rule it out.” That could include marking other conflicts and historical events, such as the assault on Parihaka.

Options raised for a public holiday that could be replaced have included the various regional holidays, Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day.

Little said many enjoyed their regional holiday, and he wasn’t going to suggest Queen’s Birthday be substituted out “because I said that before once”, but substituting an existing holiday was one option.

He said small businesses could gain from an extra holiday because people went out and spent more. “The economics of it pretty much favours small business.” 

Oh dear. I don;t think Andrew has ever run a small business. First of all he seem to think that every small business is a retailer. Around 25,000 small businesses are retailers. Around 350,000 are not. So the first fail.

The second is that he think any extra business will compensate for paying your staff two and a half times normal rates. It won’t.

And the third is he think people spending more on a public holiday is all new spending rather than just transferring spending that would happen at some other time.

But if this is the economic genius of Labour, why stop at one more public holiday a year to help small businesses. Let’s have an extra public holiday every week – that will be a gold rush of extra money for small businesses.

And people wonder why Labour re not trusted with the economy.

Parliament 1 Government 0

April 18th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Legislation to create an extra public holiday when Anzac Day and Waitangi Day fall on the weekend has passed a Parliamentary vote.

The final reading of the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill was completed this afternoon, with MPs passing it by a slim majority.

Labour MP David Clark, the sponsor of the legislation, was not in Parliament for the final vote as he is in New York on a study exchange with the Eisenhower Fellowship.

That saw Labour’s deputy leader Grant Robertson take over today’s passing.

He told Parliament that workers supported the legislation in large numbers, while many businesses also supported it because they saw the value holidays for their staff.

“The cost of this Bill is not huge. It’s already dealt with and budgeted for by businesses five out of seven years, and it’s simply a matter of making that seven out of seven years.”

Earlier this year Finance Minister Bill English elected not to use his veto to block the legislation, after it became clear that Labour had sufficient support to pass the legislation. However the party still voted against it.

The bill passed 61 votes to 60 with Labour, Greens, NZ First, Maori, Mana, United Future and Brendan Horan in favour and National and ACT against.

As I have said before, it is not a bad thing to have the Government lose the odd vote in Parliament, and for Opposition MPs able to use the members’ ballot to get laws through.

A an employer I have no problem with this law change. If we have 11 public holidays, I’m happy for it to be 11 public holidays every year, not just five out of seven years.

I can’t see the logic in Mondayising Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and not Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day.

So well done to David Clark and Grant Robertson at getting a law change from opposition.

Of course as someone who is self-employed, I won’t benefit – I work basically 7 days a week!

Monday bill set for third reading

March 28th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

A bill to give people Monday off when Anzac and Waitangi Days fall on a weekend is a step closer to being passed.

Labour MP David Clark’s Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill passed its committee stages on a voice vote in Parliament tonight. …

The bill was expected to have its third and final reading on April 17 but the first holiday to coincide with the weekend won’t be until 2015.

For those wondering about future dates which will be impacted by this bill, I’ve done a table


The change I’d like to see now happen is we swap Queen’s Birthday for a New Zealand Day.

It is rare for a members’ bill to pass against the opposition of a Government, but it is good it can happen.

I note that my support for the bill and calculations on the minimal costs to employers were quoted by Grant Robertson and Iain Lees-Galloway in the debate last night. Not sure quoting me makes National MPs more or less likely to vote for it 🙂

I think consistency in Mondayising is a good thing, and if we have legislation for 11 public holidays a year, then it should be 11. We can debate whether 11 is too few or too many, but I think consistent Mondayisation is entirely sensible.

Would anyone advocate that if Christmas Day and Boxing Day falls on a weekend, there be no long weekend?

When debating public holidays, we should look at them in combination with annual leave. In total Kiwis get 31 days a year off on pay – four weeks annual leave (or they can cash one in) and 11 days public holidays. The difference between the two is people take annual leave at all different times, while public holidays are days when many (but not all) employers are closed.

Mondayisation bill passes second reading also

March 14th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The marriage bill has hogged the headlines but worth noting that David Clark’s Mondayisation bill passed its second reading despite being opposed by the Government.

Labour, Greens, NZ First, Maori, Mana, United and Brendan Horan were 61 votes in favour and National and ACT 60 votes against.

I’m pleased to see it progress. it is illogical that we Mondayise some holidays but not all of them.

I don’t accept the argument that by placing the public holiday on a Monday, it shifts the focus from the actual day.

Put it like this. If Christmas Day is on a Saturday, the public holiday is on Monday the 27th. Does anyone celebrate Christmas on the 27th or regard that as Christmas Day? Of course not.

There is a legitimate debate you can have about whether 11 paid public holidays a year is too many or too few. But if we have a public holiday, it should occur every year in opinion – not just five out of seven years.

It is also a good thing to occasionally have Parliament able to legislate over the will of Government. This is the benefits of no party having a majority (there are drawbacks also). You don’t want the Government losing votes too often, but it is good for a Government that they have to defeat bills in the House on the basis of the strength of their argument, not on the basis of a vote in caucus.

In the end the arguments against David Clark’s bill are not persuasive and it should also pass into law in April.

In the next decade, the years when it will have an impact are:

  • 2013 – none
  • 2014 – none
  • 2015 – ANZAC Day on a Saturday
  • 2016 – Waitangi Day on a Saturday
  • 2017 – none
  • 2018 – none
  • 2019 – none
  • 2020 -ANZAC Day on a Saturday
  • 2021 – Waitangi Day on a Saturday, ANZAC Day on a Sunday
  • 2022 – Waitangi Day on a Sunday


Tomorrow, not tonight

March 12th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Vance reports at Stuff:

The Government has rescinded its threat to veto the Mondayisation bill, which seems set to pass tonight.

That would be most surprising as members’ bills are only debated on every second Wednesday and today is Tuesday,

The private members bill, introduced by Labour MP David Clark, is up for a crucial second reading and looks to have the numbers. It would give Kiwis a Monday off when Waitangi Day and Anzac Day fall on a weekend.

National had rejected the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill. Last year Finance Minister Bill English said the Government would use a financial veto to oppose it.

However, speaking from Brazil this morning, Prime Minister John Key said it had now decided not to exercise that power.

The “lineball call” decision was made at a caucus meeting three weeks ago.

That is the right decision. The financial veto should only be used on bills which have a fairly significant financial impact such as the paid parental leave bill. But the impact on the Crown finances of four extra days off every seven years is minimal. Arguably in fact there is no financial impact – just a small drop in work productivity.

Key conceded the cost would largely be borne by the private sector and wasn’t a “huge” bill for the Government.

“It’s a hard cost to quantify because there is a whole lot of factors you have to take into account…we pretty much reserve the veto for government expenditure.”

Most private sector employers aren’t really too worried by this bill either. We budget for employees to have 11 public holidays a year. The fact that some years they only get 9 or 10 isn’t something that employers get excited over.

We Mondayise pretty much all other holidays, so including Waitangi and ANZAC Days just means w are being consistent.

Will the Mondayisation bill pass?

July 25th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Dunedin North MP David Clark remains confident his bill to Monday-ise Waitangi and Anzac Days should they fall at a weekend will pass its first vote tomorrow.

Recent reports had written off the chances of the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill but Mr Clark said he had received pledges of support from United Future and the Maori Party – Government allies – along with all Opposition parties.

He told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he expected the bill to pass 61 votes to 60, meaning the legislation would go through to a select committee.

The bill corrected an anomaly that happened roughly twice every seven years. When this glitch happened New Zealanders missed out on the usual full complement of 11 public holidays, he said.

I expect it to pass, and actually think National should be backing it. The impact on employers is minimal (around 0.11% of the wages bill on average), and it provides greater certainty.

Since having his bill drawn from the ballot, Mr Clark had received feedback.

“For the folk who work Tuesday to Saturday, or Wednesday to Sunday, they miss out on the Monday holidays. This bill won’t solve that problem. But we will get a chance to hear from people on a wide range of issues.

Well if you do not normally work on a day which is a public holiday, of course you do not get paid for it. That is not a problem, but a feature. Public holidays are not a way to get to earn extra money. They are a way to give people a day off, without it affecting their pay.

Mondayising Waitangi and Anzac Days

February 8th, 2012 at 12:04 pm by David Farrar

In my blog at Stuff I say:

But how significant would this law change be, in terms of labour costs? On average it will result in two extra days of paid holidays every seven years. Over seven years there are around 1600 paid workdays, so the increase in labour cost is 2/1600 or 0.12 per cent. 

This is a pretty modest increase in labour costs. It is about 1/16th the cost of having a 2 per cent employer contribution to KiwiSaver.

I’m an employer myself, but I’m in favour of this bill. As an employer I budget for 11 public holidays a year anyway when working out my staff costs, and I suspect most employers do the same. This law change would give certainty to both employers and employees, and the impact on labour costs is very modest.

You can comment over at Stuff, as well as here. I also cover in what future years the bill would actually impact.

Earthquake Memorial Day

March 8th, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Tens of thousands are expected at a national memorial service next Friday to mark the “terrible loss of life” in the Christchurch earthquake, with Cantabrians to get the day off to attend.

Prime Minister John Key this afternoon announced the service would be held at North Hagley Park in Christchurch on March 18. …

The Government would introduce legislation to make the date a one-off provincial public holiday in Canterbury so local people could attend if they wished.

Mr Key said Cabinet had considered a nationwide public holiday, but decided a provincial holiday better reflected what was needed.

I think a nationwide public holiday would have been un-necessary, even though many NZers will want to watch the service, they’ll do so in their workplaces. I like having it as a holiday in Canterbury though.

Labour leader Phil Goff said he had spoken with Mr Key about the proposed memorial service.

“I believe it’s totally appropriate to have a commemoration of the very large number of people who have lost their lives. This is an awful event and it’s one that we must treat with respect and we must acknowledge,” Mr Goff said.

“I’m not persuaded, however, that a day’s holiday is the best way of doing that.

“I’ve talked to people in Christchurch and they’ve said ‘we’ve got a huge job ahead of us, we’ll be flat out, how’s it going to help us if the rest of the country’s having a day off?’ and I think that that is right.”

The hypocrisy is staggering. First of all Goff is wrong – the rest of the country isn’t having a day off. Only people in Canterbury.

But it is the Labour Party that has been demanding for some months that the Government urgently amend the Holidays Act so people get an extra two day’s holiday this year because Waitangi Day is on a weekend and we have the 1 in 90 year occurence (next happens in 2095) of Easter Monday falling on ANZAC Day.

So Labour after spending months demanding two extra days holiday for the entire country this year, now are against having a provincial holiday to mourn our biggest ever natural disaster.

Do they even think about the word consistency?

Citing Facebook as support

January 31st, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

An article in the Herald proclaims “Labour move to save public holidays gains wide support”

Now as it so happens, I support Grant Robertson’s bill, and think it probably does have wide support. But what I want to focus on is this segment of the story:

A Facebook page – dubbed Mondayise NZ – has called on the Government to make the move.

One post reads: “Crazy. Currently if our NZ national day Waitangi Day falls on a weekend, we don’t get the day off! What’s that about?”

Another said: “Let’s tell the New Zealand Government through a Facebook community [that] we want our public holidays Mondayised!”

If one is going to cite a Facebook group as evidence of wide support, one should cite how many members belong to or “like” the page. In this case, it is 47 people.

The Mondayisation bill

January 29th, 2011 at 9:41 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett in the Herald reports:

Labour will introduce a member’s bill to ensure holidays that fall on a weekend can be taken another day.

New Zealanders will miss out on two of 11 public holidays this year because Waitangi Day is a Sunday and Anzac Day falls on Easter Monday – already a statutory holiday.

Labour MP Grant Robertson said the holidays should be able to be taken on a Monday in such instances.

I actually support such a bill. Not to make a last minute change to 2011 which would be a silly panic. But to have certainity in the future that you always have 11 days of public holidays.

Incidentially Mondayisation would not solve the issue of ANZAC day and Easter Monday being the same day in 2011 but this is not scheduled to happen again until the 25th of April 2095. I hope Labour aren’t saying that this is an issue that needs a legislative fix.

But Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day falling on weekends does happen two out of seven years. ANZAC Day will next fall on a weekend in 2015 and Waitangi Day in 2016.

So Labour’s bill is worth supporting, but it is not urgent, and should take its chances in the ballot.

Mondayising holidays

January 12th, 2011 at 11:21 am by David Farrar

Hayden Donnell in the Herald reports:

Politicians and unions are calling on the Government to move public holidays that fall on weekends to Monday as workers face losing two days off in 2011.

Waitangi Day is on a Sunday this year and Anzac Day is cancelled out by coinciding with Easter Monday.

Labour leader Phil Goff says he wants to see legislation guaranteeing a day off for each public holiday, regardless of where it falls.

“I can’t think of any reason why people should be deprived of a public holiday twice every seven years.

“I think most people would feel there should be more consistency.”

Giving workers the extra days off would be affordable, he says. “It’s not an economic issue. If five out of seven years you can afford it, then you should be able to the other two.

Shock, horror – I actually agree with Phil Goff on this point. While I am loath to increase costs on employers, I know as an employer I budget for there being 11 public holidays a year. I think it is easier to have it consistent.

I will note of course that Labour never changed the law during their nine years in office.

So in principle I think the law should change to Mondayise holidays – however there are some fish hooks.

  1. If a holiday is mondayised, then staff who work on the actual holiday will not get penal rates or a day off in lieu. If Christmas Day is on a Saturday, then it will be officially on 27 December. That means if you work in a service station you get no penal rates of time off in lieu for working Sat Dec 25th but would for Mon 27th.
  2. One would need to clarify if the celebrations still occur on the actual date, or the public holiday. Most would want ANZAC Day I am sure to always be 25 April, but if that is a weekend, then it means that staff who work that day will again not get penal rates or a day off in lieu.
  3. We’re on the verge of a double dip recession. This is probably the worst possible time to increase costs on employers. I’m still in favour of doing it – but delay implementation until at least 2013.
  4. There may be inconsistencies between the shop trading hours restrictions and mondayising holidays.

Whining about surcharges

January 3rd, 2011 at 3:17 pm by David Farrar

Lincoln Tan in the Herald reports:

Diners and cafe customers in Auckland want clearer rules over when the holiday surcharge should apply after some were slapped with the extra cost on their bills when eating out yesterday.

Aucklanders potentially face a four-day stretch of surcharge, but several cafes and bars which imposed the additional charge during the weekend told the Herald they would not charge extra today.

Restaurants added the surcharge on statutory holidays after changes to the Holidays Act in 2004 gave workers time-and-a-half pay and a day in lieu for working those days.

However, because Christmas Day and New Year fell on a weekend this year and were both replaced with holidays on Mondays and Tuesdays, there’s been confusion over which days should be considered “public holidays” for the surcharge to apply.

People seem to think cafe prices are regulated. They are not. So long as the cafe or restaurant makes clear what prices apply on a day, they can crage what they want – and you can decide whether or not to dine there or not.

If a cafe owner wants to impose a 50% surcharge on Wednesdays, then so long as they clearly inform people in advance, they can. It may be bad business for them – but it is their decision to make.

So if you don’t like a surcharge, don’t complaint to the Government. Complaint to the business. Of course they may point out the extra costs of paying staff effectively 2.5 times ordinary pay on a stat holiday, but it is their decision to make that up by way of surcharge instead of an overall higher charge every day.

Mondayised Holdiays

May 27th, 2010 at 7:07 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A big union wants workers to be paid more if statutory holidays fall on a weekend.

This year, both Anzac and Waitangi Day fell on weekends, meaning workers missed out on penal rates and an extra day off work because those two statutory holidays aren’t “Mondayised” as all others are.

I have some sympathy for the notion of Mondayising Waitangi and ANZAC Days. However it would be preferable for changes to be made to the Holidays Act, rather than try to do so through wage rounds, because the whole idea of public holidays is that they are uniform.

Over a seven year cycle, it would result in an extra four days of public holidays, which would be an additional cost to business of 0.23%. And I suspect most businesses budget for 11 public holidays a year and don’t really gain much benefit from there only being 9 or 10 in some years.

Mr Newson said there was no argument about the sanctity of Waitangi Day or Anzac Day, but the union would like workers to be able to take all of the public holidays they were entitled to.

The Returned and Services Association has always opposed transferring to a Monday the observance of holidays such as Anzac Day that fall on a weekend, saying that to do so would miss the point of the day.

I think there is a sensible compromise here. Certanly ANZAC Day should always be celebrated on 25 April, but if that is a weekend, you also get the Monday off.

Think of Christmas. If 25 December falls on a Saturday, you get Monday 27 December off work also. However that does not mean you celebrate Christmas on 27 December – you still celebrate it on 25 December.

Trotter on cafes on public holidays

January 9th, 2010 at 2:51 pm by David Farrar

Chris Trotter writes:

How many times during the holiday period have you seen those irritating notices posted on the doors and windows of restaurants and cafes, informing you that a 15 per cent to 20 per cent “surcharge” will be added to your purchases because of the Holidays Act?

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see such a notice, I turn on my heel and go in search of an alternative eatery. According to the vast majority of restaurateurs and cafe owners who don’t impose these surcharges, it’s what most people do.

I’d like to know Chris’ source for the allegation most cafes don’t charge a surcharge on public holidays. To the contrary I think the overwhelming majority do.

Does the surcharge cover the cost of your lost trade? Probably not.

That is a decision best made by individual owners. Some might advertise no surcharge as an advertising plot, others might need the surcharge to make it worthwhile opening.

The intelligent – and economically rational – course of action for any proprietor in the hospitality industry is obvious. The entirely predictable cost of hiring workers to run a business on statutory holidays can be simply factored into its overall cost structure, and recovered during the course of the financial year.

With no disrespect to Chris, but statements like the above are made by people who I swear have never employed people or tried to run a low margin business like hospitality. They think making a profit is just as simple as factor in overall costs and hey presto.

They just have no idea. Business goes up and down. Staff are rostered on as demand is predicted, but often it can be a mismatch. Your cost of supplies goes up. You need to hire and train more staff. Your cashflow is negative due to tax requirements. so need to borrow.

Only in Neverneverland is it as simple as oh just recover your loss later in the year.

The bottom line is that there is no point in opening a cafe on a public holiday if the marginal cost of doing so is greater than the income for that day. And a 50% hike in staff costs can be the difference between making and losing money. Why would you as a cafe owner spend the day working, to lose money?

I own a polling company. We do not poll on public holidays unless the client will pay the cost of the extra wages. Otherwise I will lose money on the polling done that day, and if I was a cafe owner instead of a pollster, I don’t need Chris Trotter telling me I should just have made more money earlier in the year. It does not work like that.

Now people are quite free to refuse to dine at a cafe with a surcharge on a public holiday – good on them. But you have no right to expect them not to impose a surcharge, if that is the only way they will make a profit from opening that day.

Constructive work on holidays

December 20th, 2009 at 12:42 pm by David Farrar

The SST report:

WORKERS WILL be allowed to swap one week of their holidays for cash from next year.

The government will introduce legislation early in 2010, despite opposition from unions who see it as a move to rewind the Labour government’s law change two years ago, which increased the minimum annual leave entitlement for fulltime workers from three to four weeks.

This was of course election policy. It also may not mean great change for some people as if you do not take all your annual leave, and leave your job, it gets paid out to you anyway. Also it gives an employee the right to sto an employer closing the business for four weeks over summer, and forcing them to take four weeks leave then. They can now only be forced to tale three weeks leave, and get the fourth paid out as extra salary.

The government will also legislate to standardise the rate at which leave is calculated. There will be a single rate of pay for all leave whether annual, sick, bereavement or public. …

Wilkinson said the only workers who would be worse off under the changes were those who engaged in “gaming” the system; for example, by manipulating their work hours to maximise their pay while on leave.

Under current law, holiday payments factor in penal rates in the four weeks before the holiday. An employee could exploit that by working considerable overtime before going on leave.

Seems sensible, and much much easier administratively.

Wilkinson said the review was needed because the current system was so complex and confusing that even the courts had trouble determining disputes between employers and employees over rates of pay for leave.

“We are not reducing entitlements. We think the new formula for relevant daily pay will be easier to calculate. We also think it will be fairer to employees and employers and prevent the `gaming’ of relevant daily pay calculations.”

I suspect very few employers apply the law absolutely correctly because it is so difficult to understand. Most just pay leave at the normal rate anyway I suspect.

Helen Kelly, president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and a member of the review panel, was worried the government would allow bosses to transfer days in lieu and public holidays to avoid paying double time.

Although she was happy with the proposals as they stood, she was concerned that the final legislation could go further than the report, leaving workers worse off.

“There should be a condition [in the legislation] that the reason for transferring is not to avoid paying time-and-a-half.”

Nice to see a constructive approach by the CTU. They will of course be against the cashing in a weeks leave, but pleased to see not against the other changes necessarily.

Some workers spoken to by the Star-Times were pleased to hear of the law change, saying they would be keen to cash in their leave. Others though, would not. “Hell no, I don’t need the money…I would rather take the break from work,” said one.

And now they will have the choice, so both camps can be happy. Different employees have different needs. Those with kids probably love having a 4th week leave. Those without kids are more likely to love being able to earn some extra money by only taking three weeks. And there are also those in positions who find it hell to take too long a break, as the work piles up so much in their absence. So not treating all employees as wanting the same thing is good.

Among the 241 submissions was a call for March 18 to become a public holiday. Wilkinson said she was “amused” at the suggestion but was not interested in “legislating for behaviour that condones hangovers or the over-indulgence of alcohol”. March 17 is St Patrick’s Day.



July 30th, 2009 at 9:28 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

The Maori Party has asked Parliament to create a public holiday to celebrate Matariki, the Maori New Year, but it isn’t going to happen.

The National Party won’t support Rahui Katene’s bill because it doesn’t think a holiday is necessary.

I think it is a pity National won’t at least support the bill going to select committee. It would have been good to let the public have their say.

I don’t support the imposition of a 12th paid public holiday on employers. It would take us in the opposite direction to increasing productivity growth.

But I am not at all opposed to replacing an existing holiday with Matariki. A uniquely New Zealand holiday appeals more to me than some of our existing ones.

My views on our public holidays generally is:

  • New Years x 2 – keep
  • Provincial Holiday – would like to move at least the urban ones (Akl/Wgtn) to the same day but love having it in late January.
  • Waitangi Day – keep and Mondayise (allow day off on Monday if at weekend)
  • Easter x 2 – keep
  • ANZAC Day – keep and Mondayise
  • Queen’s Birthday – scrap. Not her birthday and not even UK celebrate it. Replace with Matariki.
  • Labour Day – scrap as irrelevant. Replace with New Zealand Day on 26 September (and Mondayise). This should be our equivalent of US 4th of July.
  • Xmas Day x 2 – keep

That would keep it to 11 holidays.

Provincial Anniversay Days

January 31st, 2009 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Bernard Hickey blogs that the provincial anniversary days should all be on the same day:

We should be bringing together all of these itsy, bitsy little provincial holidays into one national day so we can all have a day off. It would no doubt significantly improve productivity on all these itsy, bitsy days and ensure we all still get a day off.

We could call it National Provincial Day Off. After all, does anyone really care or know why today is Auckland Anniversary Day and last Monday was Wellington Anniversary Day?

I agree. The whole idea of public holidays is that most of the country is n holiday, so you can relax. Otherwise you’d abolish public holidays and just give everyone two week’s extra annual leave.

So having different holidays in each province is silly. Especially considering we no longer even have provinces!

The holiday should just be set for all of the country as the last Monday in January. It’s a good time for a break.

Independent Financial Review on Public Holidays

March 28th, 2008 at 4:18 pm by David Farrar

The Independent Financial Review’s editorial this week, has endorsed the suggestion from Jim Donovan, which I blogged about, to abolish public holidays and give people an extra 10 day annual leave, allowing them to decide for say five of the days when they will take them. The editorial says:

Now, here’s a thought.

Jim Donovan, a blogger, proposes we do away with public holidays altogether.

There are 10 statutory holidays, and these 10 days would be added to worker’s annual leave entitlement – 20 days, in most cases.

At present, when employees want to take annual leave, it must be agreed in advance with their employer.

The new legislation would specify a certain number of days – Donovan suggests five – which the employee can nominate in advance, and which the employer is required to grant.

To prevent gaming behaviour, those days once nominated would have to be taken off, unless the employer agreed otherwise.

One advantage, says Donovan, is the economy, businesses and consumers would gain several trading days a year.

Another is employees would gain more days they could take off when it suited them, rather than when the calendar mandates they must. So families could organise reunions at a time when peak fares and holiday traffic were no hindrance.

Of course, there are issues.

Donovan points out there would have to be exemptions for essential services, but says he’d keep the list short.

In an economy made up of small businesses, some would have problems covering for key staff taking certain days off as by right.

Some might not be able to open at all. But there would be fewer of these days than are lost at present through mandatory closing.

And some will argue, as they do now, the spiritual significance of Easter and Christmas would be diminished if those days were simply trading days like any other.

But the force of this argument is dissipating as the population becomes more multicultural, and secular.

Those who celebrate Christmas as a religious day, or as a secular holiday, could simply specify it as one of their mandatory days off.

What’s more, as blogger David Farrar points out, Donovan’s regime would be far more friendly to adherents of religions other than Christianity. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc, would be able to specify their own religious holidays as mandatory days off.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Council of Trade Unions reacts to the idea. It presumably will embrace with open arms a concept that would deliver greater output and more freedom.

Great to see a business newspaper pick up a proposal from a blog.  And it is a good proposal. Hopefully with a change in Government one could get some policy work done on whether one could implement such a change, and how.