ACT leader David Seymour’s latest policy-on-the-fly comments turned into what closely resembled a scene from How the Grinch Stole Christmas,when he voiced his preference for axing almost all public holidays.
On Wednesday, the MP was asked to share his thoughts on whether Matariki should become a public holiday.
Earlier this month, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he supported Queen’s Birthday being ditched in favour of a national Matariki holiday.
Seymour said he wasn’t keen on including another public holiday in New Zealand’s calendar.
“If people want to use some of their annual leave for Matariki, they can.”
In fact, he wasn’t really a fan of public holidays at all.
What came next was eerily similar to the part of the Jim Carrey film where the Grinch ransacks the houses of Whoville: “Clearance Sale! Everything must go”.
Reporters listed public holidays, as Seymour listed the reasons why they should not be part of New Zealand’s set calendar.
People should be able to decide when they wanted to go on holiday, Seymour said.
“I’m not into the Government telling people how to use their annual leave. What is this? A fascist state?”
One reporter asked whether New Zealand scrap all public holidays. “I’m open to it,” Seymour replied.
Actually Seymour has a point.
He is not proposing (as I understand it) cancelling all public holidays without “compensation”, more that people should choose for themselves what days they take off.
All employees currently get at least four weeks annual leave and 11 public holidays, so that is 31 days of paid leave.
Rather than have the state dictate you mustn’t work on Queen’s Birthday or Labour Day, people could choose for themselves when they take their holidays.
Imagine how great it would be if you could take six whole weeks off in January and February (when the weather is great) rather than be forced to take days off in April, June and October when the weather is lousy.
Why do we force Buddhists and Muslims to take off Easter and Christmas?
Why are Republicans forced to take a day off for the Queen’s official birthday.
I suspect most families would still choose to take off the current public holidays, but it should be their choice.