Labour move to save public holidays gains wide support

NZ Herald Jan 31, 2011
Today is the last public holiday for New Zealanders until late April – but even then you’re missing out. Aucklanders are today celebrating their annual Anniversary Day, with many enjoying the day off or working with the comfort of knowing that they are being paid extra for working on a public holiday. But today is the last public holiday until Easter Monday, on April 25. There will be no public holiday for Anzac Day, which falls on the same day as Easter Monday, and Waitangi Day is this Sunday. There is huge debate over the issue, after the Labour Party announced it would be introducing a member’s bill to ensure public holidays that fall on a weekend can be taken the following Monday. Labour MP Grant Robertson yesterday said Kiwis deserved to not only commemorate national days of significance, but also to get a day off. He had received many emails from people who supported the idea, but there were others who thought having two holidays would only diminish the meaning of Waitangi Day, for example. But there was no risk of that happening if the bill was successful, he said. “Nothing will change under this proposal in terms of the commemoration. It’s just that it also allows for people to have a break the following Monday.”
Family First NZ is supporting the proposed move, saying it would give more time for families to be together. National director Bob McCoskrie said it was not fair that workers – and therefore families – had missed out on holidays last year and will again this year. “This ultimately impacts on family time when we stop as a nation and enjoy a public holiday. Public holidays are traditions. They create rituals for families based on celebrating together, reconnecting and making memories.”