21 Jun 2018

Should NZ ditch public holidays? David Seymour open to idea

8:33 am on 21 June 2018

Should New Zealand do away with public holidays and just let Kiwis decide when to have a break?

ACT MP David Seymour

ACT MP David Seymour Photo: RNZ/ Tom Furley

That's what ACT Party leader David Seymour is pitching, saying the government should not be telling people when they have to take their holidays.

New Zealanders get a grand total of 10 public holidays a year.

But along pure ACT Party libertarian lines, Mr Seymour argues people should be able to dictate their own days off.

"I'm not into the government telling people when they should go on holiday - what is this a fascist state?"

Mr Seymour said he was open to the idea of scrapping all public holidays, though he thought there should be an exception for ANZAC and Waitangi Days.

"Queens Birthday weekend is not even on her birthday, so you could get rid of that one.

"The religious holidays, people can make up their own minds, we now have a very diverse country where people have a range of different religious outlooks, it's not clear why the government needs to tell people when they should celebrate religious holidays."

But wait, no easter eggs?

"Oh I love easter eggs, but you should have the freedom to consume easter eggs at a time of your choosing not told to by the government."

So are other MPs keen to ditch public holidays?

Not National's Chris Bishop.

"Oh look, David's a great dancer and I agree with him on many things, but I don't agree with him on that one."

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson was also not keen - but she did think Matariki should be added as a public holiday.

Labour Minister, Phil Twyford, was keen on that.

"I am a Matariki fan, I'm also a republican so if I had my way I would probably replace Queens Birthday weekend with Matariki."

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters was receptive to Matariki being made a public holiday, but said he wanted a referendum on it.

"I think that's a discussion we could wisely have, it may replace another holiday, I think we should as a country consider that, but I would put it to the people of this country."

But Mr Peters was not impressed with Mr Seymour's idea.

"Well that's the kind of narrow, unadjusted, maladjusted, philistine comment I'd expect from the ACT Party."

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