Dear Mr Dunne
About a year ago you were on Backbenchers patting yourself on the back over the extension to daylight saving.
I didn’t have a chance to contradict you and to be honest I was beginning to think it was time I admitted defeat on this issue.
However, this week’s weather has renewed my commitment to the campaign to delay the date the clocks go forward.
When daylight saving was first introduced it started at the end of October. That wasn’t too hard to adjust to because by then we’re getting about 14 hours of daylight.
Then someone decided that if some daylight saving time was good more would be better and the change in time moved to early October. That was harder to take but still some people thought that wasn’t enough. You agreed with them and moved the start of daylight saving back to the last weekend of September.
That’s just a few days after the spring equinox so we’re only getting a little more than 12 hours of daylight. Moving sunset from 6ish to 7ish in the evening means sunrise moves from 6ish to 7ish in the morning.
That extra hour at the end of the day coincides with dinner time for most people so isn’t much use and the extra hour of darkness at the start of the day seriously inconveniences people who have to start work early.
Even that mightn’t be so bad if it was summer, but this week has shown us it’s not even spring. It’s still winter. Our temperatures didn’t even make it to double figures yesterday and the forecast for the next few days doesn’t give much hope of an improvement.
Regardless of whether the sun sets at 6ish or 7ish, it’s far too cold to be outside during the evening.
Please, check the Astronomical Society’s table of sunrise and sunset times. You’ll see that taking the start of daylight saving back to the end of October makes a huge difference. If the clocks change this weekend sunrise in Dunedin won’t be until 7.17, that’s not a lot earlier than winter, but if the change is delayed by a month the sun will rise at the much more civilised time of 6.22.
We’ve given the extension to daylight saving a fair go and it hasn’t got any better.
Please Mr Dunne, admit you got the timing wrong. It was an idea which sounded okay in theory but simply doesn’t work in practice.
You lengthened the period of daylight saving, it’s time to shorten it again so that the change to summer time comes in summer, or at least spring, and not winter.
Yours in hope,
UPDATE: Tim Selwyn at Tumeke! agrees September is too early. He’s suggesting we go back to the first weekend in October. I reckon that’s still too early, but it would be better than what we’ve got now.