Does new national day have to be another holiday?

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says the government acknowledges the need for a national day to commemorate the land wars.

“The time to recognise our own conflict, our own war, our own fallen, because there is no doubt at Rangiriri ordinary people lost their lives fighting for principle in just the same way as New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives fighting on battlefields on the other side of the world,” Mr English said.

I agree with the need to commemorate the wars which are poorly understood by many.

It wasn’t until I studied New Zealand history at university that the muddled impression I’d got from school was corrected.

But if a new national day is going to necessitate a day off, does it have to be another holiday?

We already have 11 statutory holidays, with penalty rates and days off in lieu for anyone who works on any of these.

Those come on top of four weeks annual leave which adds up to a total of day more than six weeks of paid leave.

If you employ 5 people, that’s 30 weeks or more than half a year, with a staff member off which is a big cost for a small business.

I’m not suggesting we cut holidays but rather than just adding another day, let’s look at all the stat days, when they occur, why and whether any could go in favour of the new day off.

With New Year’s day and January 2nd, Wellington, Auckland,  Nelson, Otago, Southland and Taranaki  Anniversary days, Waitangi Day, Easter and Anzac Day  most people have five or six days off in the first four months of the year on top of annual leave, at least some of which is usually taken at that time.

Then there’s at least five or six weeks until Queen’s Birthday at the start of June and more than four months until Labour weekend in October for all but South Canterbury which has Anniversary Day in late September.

Hawkes Bay and Marlborough’s Anniversary Days fall in late October but are sometimes marked in early November.

Canterbury has Anniversary Day in early November and Westland’s and Chatham Islands’ Anniversary Days are at the end of November, though sometimes marked in early December.

The rest of us have no break for the couple of months from Labour weekend to Christmas.

Replacing all the different Anniversary days would be the easiest if someone was willing to deal with the uproar in Canterbury where theirs coincides with show and cup week.

Queen’s Birthday isn’t actually the Queen’s birthday and it could be replaced. Given how few people know what Labour Day signifies it is another option to give way to the new national day.

A new national day to commemorate an important part of our history is a good idea, but rather than simply adding a 12th statutory holiday,  let’s use it as an opportunity to look at existing statutory holidays and work out a better distribution of long weekends.







12 Responses to Does new national day have to be another holiday?

  1. JC says:

    Prior to the “Maori Wars” there were the “Musket Wars”.

    In the Musket Wars some 20,000 Maori were killed over about a 22 year period or over 900 per year. The displacement of Maori from their traditional lands and homes makes Syria today look like a picnic.

    In the Maori Wars some 2000 plus Maori were killed and a little under 800 Pakeha over a 27 year period.. a little over 100 per year.

    Its a little ironic to make a day for the minimal loss of life compared to the Maori on Maori disaster.

    Nor does the joint sovereignty work for me.. Maori (and Pakeha) already have that supreme command through Democracy and the vote, more so in fact with the Maori seats rort combined with MMP.



  2. Will says:

    I’m sure VW (victory whitey) Day will do wonders for race relations.


  3. Richard says:

    JC – very good points and puts things into perspective. Flavell has poured cold water on a holiday- good – recognition can be given by each iwi for their own battles at their own choice – my iwi is Ngai Tahu.

    Ele, not too sure the point you are trying to make, except there are enough holidays. Or is it to tell Bill English to pull his head in- “pandering to Maori” as Winston P is always saying about National?

    Winston may have a valid point.


  4. homepaddock says:

    Richard, I don’t have a problem with marking
    the land wars and wouldn’t consider it pandering to anyone. But if there is to be a day off I’d rather it replaced an existing one, a point David Farrar makes, and he also says media reports were incorrect, it would be a commemoration day not another public holiday.


  5. Richard says:

    “Pandering ” I attributed to Winston P about the National Party/Government – not you, But as David Fararr says the report by RNZ- saw this after my last post- was incorrect.
    So I conclude that Winston P may well have taken over RNZ —- or —


  6. JC says:

    HP.. replacement needs to go a bit further than a day off if we are to commemorate the Land Wars.

    Like it or not, fair or not our history has long been taken over by revisionists and activists to the point where we are simply disgusted with any further shenanigans to perpetuate a guilt complex, a grievance and unending “You owe me” mentality.

    Commemorate the Land Wars for sure, but only if it replaces generations of whining with reality and human progress.

    There have been great sins committed in colonisation and great wars involving the death of millions have been fought in the modern era to stop them. Its equally true that colonisation and just war has ended even greater sins related to slavery, murder of innocents, cannibalism and rapacious invasion.

    So what exactly would we be commemorating.. a loss of land or the near cessation of monstrous sin?



  7. Richard says:

    JC- Concur with what you say. Would like to hear from Andre; wise on this sort of issue


  8. Andrei says:

    So John Key is going to “whip” the National Party caucus into trashing the Holiest day on the Christian calendar


  9. Gravedodger says:

    The current NZ democratically elected government is going to attempt to bring ancient pagan rituals and the very beginnings of the Christian religions into a structure that fits with the mind set of enlightened individuals who treasure an ability to think for themselves and conduct their behaviour on days sacred to some in a freedom that has been hard won.

    Apart from the well documented ability of some who wish to be offended, affronted and dismayed at such liberty of thought and action I see no change in how your holiest day is celebrated by yourself, apart from being forced to endure their free human spirit and its manifestation.

    Anyway which calendar will you use to choose those holiest days that in your opinion will be trashed.
    Freedoms are sometimes an anathema to the bigoted, so no surprises really.


  10. Andrei says:

    Anyway which calendar will you use to choose those holiest days that in your opinion will be trashed.

    I’m not asking that you respect my heritage Gravedodger, I’m asking that you respect your own


  11. Andrei says:

    Gravedodger this is not the march of “freedom” – it is in fact the march of slavery when all is subsumed to the mighty dollar and your history, culture and heritage is washed away in a sea of banality

    I actually like that we use the old calendar – it means that our Feasts are free of the feces you barbarians have allowed to be smeared over them on the dates you use

    You are being led down the garden path my friend, to wallow in the cess pit


  12. Andrei says:

    Here’s another thought for you GD

    John Key is actually following in the footsteps of the Bolsheviks with this move and with the introduction of a new “holiday” commemorating the Land Wars

    Holiday doesn’t necessarily mean a day off work it means Holy Day – the Bolsheviks were always inventing them – International Woman’s day is one that has stuck – betchya didn’t know that the Bolsheviks invented that one

    Anyway we all need to take time out to take stock, slow down – which is why we were given the Sabbath – and why it is a shame we have forgone that

    And the Holidays to mark important events in the life of the people – some solemn, some joyful – and these we received from our forbears and will pass to our children and Grandchildren

    It makes us who we are

    And we shouldn’t let politicians take them from us


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