Hospitality group pushes for Monday holidays

By Kate Shuttleworth

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

The Hospitality Association of New Zealand have suggested Waitangi and Anzac days should be moved to a Monday every year in a similar fashion to Queens' birthday and Labour day - effectively moving the commemorative days from their historical dates.

HANZ made the suggestion in its submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee on Labour MP David Clark's bill to Monday-ise Anzac and Waitangi days.

The Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill would give New Zealanders Monday off when Waitangi and Anzac days fell on a weekend.

Legal advisor for the Hospitality Association of New Zealand Alyn Higgins suggested instead the holidays could be observed on the first Monday of February and the last Monday of April.

Mr Higgins said he didn't think it lessened the significance of the actual dates in which historical events occurred in New Zealand.

"It really depends on each person's approach to the day in question, I think," he said.

Green MP Denise Roche said she simply didn't follow the logic in Mr Higgin's submission.

"The point of this bill is about consistency - how does that make public holidays more consistent. Are you suggesting we do the same for Christmas?"

"Christmas is one of those commemorative days, Anzac and Waitangi are those commemorative days - sticking them on a Monday, when they don't historically fall on those days doesn't stack up."

National MP for Botany Jami-Lee Ross said you won't stop New Zealanders celebrating Waitangi day on the February 6.

"Well there's hope," said Mr Higgins.

He said the Hospitality Association of New Zealand had surveyed its members and they were divided on the amendment put forward to the committee today.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association were against the bill saying most employers in New Zealand opposed the bill.

Advisory Services Manager of EMA David Lowe said EMA did not have exact figures for the number of employers opposed to the bill because of the cost of Monday-ising Waitangi and Anzac days.

"It's hard to put a number on it but a guess would be between 80-90 per cent oppose it."

He told the committee the EMA have never supported an increase to holidays in New Zealand.

"What we're effectively doing here is legislating extra holidays - for days that weren't put in place to be holidays to start with; they were to enable people to attend the celebrations," said Mr Lowe.

Chief Executive of Tourism Industry Association Martin Snedden supported the bill saying it would increase domestic tourism which makes up 65 per cent of the $63 million generated a day in the tourism industry in New Zealand.

He said when a long weekend falls the number of visitors increases significantly.

The TIA has 1500 members - including Ngai Tahu Tourism, Air New Zealand Auckland Airport.

- APNZ

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