I'm conflicted on Labour's plan to introduce Matariki as a public holiday.
The idea itself, I support wholeheartedly.
I've long wanted to see Matariki as a public holiday for a bunch of reasons.
Firstly, for its cultural significance to Māori.
Then also for the fact that we have comparatively few public holidays in this country - 18 other OECD countries have more than we do.
And I think we could all do with something to break up that long winter stretch between Queen's Birthday in late June and Labour Day in October.
But … this is the wrong time to do this.
We are still sitting on the cusp of the biggest economic shock to face us and the world in a generation.
The forecasts have certainly got better in the last few months. But we are still talking about a contraction in GDP of around 5 per cent, the complete freezing of our biggest earner – tourism – businesses falling over and redundancies in the tens of thousands.
Labour seem completely tone-deaf on this.
At a time when government should be reducing as many burdens on business as possible… they're doing the opposite.
In this term alone they've increased maternity leave to 26 weeks, domestic abuse leave to two weeks, upped the minimum wage by 20 per cent, scrapped 90-day trials, regulated when employees must take breaks, are apparently considering doubling sick leave to two weeks and now this.
All in all that is a huge amount of regulation and cost added to businesses who are fighting for their survival right now.
It makes it slightly better than the policy is deferred to mid-2022. But, in truth, businesses will still be struggling then. ASB today projected it won't enter recovery mode until 2023.
You have to wonder also at the priorities here. If this is the policy to kick off the campaign property you have to wonder whether Labour either doesn't appreciate what's headed our way or just knows it can get away with it while voters live in a fantasy land of sugar money propping up the economy.
This is a great idea, but it's a great idea for another time. Right now, we have bigger problems than the need for another public holiday.