Workers are a step closer to getting a holiday for nationally important dates every year after a law change was approved by Parliament.

Labour Party MP David Clark's bill passed its second reading despite failing to win the support of the National or Act parties. It passed by 61 votes to 60 with every other political party voting for it to progress.

The legislation would give workers a holiday on the following Monday when Anzac or Waitangi Day fell on a weekend.

Dr Clark said his bill had the backing of most New Zealanders, including businesses _ the only study of support for the law change showed that 87 per cent of employers were in favour.


But National Party MP Chris Auchinvole told Parliament that the bill was unnecessary and would have little impact on the economy.

"It does nothing to address the real issues facing employees and employers,'' he said.
National MP for Tamaki Simon O'Connor said he was concerned that the bill belittled veterans and used nationally important days "as an excuse for a holiday''.