Shifting summer shut-down


Would it be better to shift the summer shut-down to February?

A poll of 500 people by Research New Zealand showed nearly half were in favour of a shift because the weather was better in February – when most people returned to work.

Statutory holidays are, as the name implies, set by statute and school holidays are prescribed by the Ministry of Education.

But there is no legal requirement for any business to shut-down over the Christmas-New Year period.

Some businesses do find it easier to stop altogether. Factories for example use the shut-down to do maintenance that can’t be done while manufacturing is in progress. Some which stop for the statutory breaks prefer to stay shut than stop, start then stop and start again a few days later.

Others close so that all staff take at least part of their four-weeks annual leave at one time, lessening the inconvenience and pressure of having staff off for too long during the rest of the year.

However, some continue to operate and pay staff the extra and give them the days in lieu required later.

Many don’t  shut because they provide essential services, cater for holiday-makers or are dictated to by the season and staff stagger their holidays throughout the year to allow the operation to continue.

Research New Zealand director Emanuel Kalafatelis said city dwellers were most in favour, while those in rural areas were against the idea.

“The nature of the business activity in those [rural] areas as opposed to main urban centres, the average farmer can’t stop whatever their doing at the moment and shift their activities.”

Summer is the busiest time for most rural businesses and most can’t shut down, whether it’s over the traditional shut-down period or later.

Stock has to be monitored, cows have to be milked, fruit and vegetables have to be picked, hay, silage and balage have to be made, crops have to be harvested . . .  and businesses which process the produce and service and supply other businesses  doing all this have to keep operating.

Whenever the shut-down occurs it would be very frustrating if you are a business which can’t, or doesn’t, stop and you find you need goods and services which aren’t available because the business supplying them does.

Equal rights vs equality


The Research NZ survey  has generated debate at No Minister  and The Hand Mirror  over equal rights and equality and a post on the issue at No Right Turn.

The discussion reminded me of this Garrick Tremain cartoon which I cut out of the ODT several years ago.

My memory of what prompted the cartoon is a little vague but it had something to do with whether women would be admitted as members.

I don’t know what the upshot was then but am fairly certain membership is open to women now.

Mahinerangi wind farm approved


The ODT  has been told that Trustpower’s $400 million Mahinerangi wind farm has been approved by the Environment Court although it has not had official confirmation. 

Upland Landscape Protection Society legal co-ordinator Ewan Carr said in Cromwell yesterday the wind farm had been approved by the court, “subject to conditions”.

“But we don’t know what the conditions are.”

The UPS was the main appellant in an appeal to the Environment Court after the project was originally approved by a joint committee of the Clutha District Council and the Otago Regional Council last year.

The wind farm  will have 100 145m-high turbines capable of generating 200MW of power which is enough to supply about 100,000 homes.

Results from a Reserach New Zealand  poll released at the weekend found 84% of people asked were not opposed to wind farms although opposition doubled to 26% when people were asked if they would mind seeing them from their homes.

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