True ‘cost’ of Mondayisation deliberately hidden

Written By: - Date published: 5:02 pm, May 14th, 2012 - 8 comments
Categories: business, workers' rights - Tags: ,

An interesting press release from David Clark, sponsor of the “Mondayisation” bill:

True ‘cost’ of  Mondayisation deliberately hidden

John Key’s calculations around the cost of Mondayising public holidays read like Maths 101 gone wrong, says Labour MP David Clark.

The Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill, mooted by the Dunedin North MP, seeks to ‘Mondayise’ Waitangi Day and Anzac day when they fall on a weekend, something that would happen about twice every seven years.

“Information revealed under the OIA shows that officials, deliberately or otherwise, have focused on counting the costs of the legislative change without considering the offsetting benefits.

“The calculations fail to account for a range of ameliorating factors: Employment and hours worked by self-employed people (who are not subject to the Holiday’s Act) are included in calculations, while productivity gains from the benefits of having rested workers and extra benefits from increased domestic tourism aren’t.

“That is like counting the downsides of a mortgage without recognising the fact that you own a house,” David Clark said.

“As well, no account has been taken of the fact that employers can make changes to the way they operate their businesses and who works on which days, further reducing costs.

“The papers also note, more than once, that cost calculations provided are ‘likely to be overstated’. But, wait… it gets worse. Email traffic preceding official advice to the Minister acknowledges the likelihood of benefits to the economy, but proposes ‘investigating no further, lest the results be ambiguous’.[1]

“Without wanting to cast doubt on the impartial advice provided by officials, this seems a lot like cherry-picking.

“If the Government stuck to the facts it would see the Bill is just plain common sense. Kiwis are entitled to 11 statutory days off each year. Hopefully they will be entitled to a day off for each and every one of them before the year is out,” David Clark said.

Contact: David Clark 021 243 7795

[1] “The impacts on GDP are ambiguous so we won’t model them any further than we already have. We know that the economy will lose on average 10 days every 20 years, potentially decreasing output by 0.2% per year on average.  However, there may be productivity gains associated with the extra holidays, lifting output to its previous level (or even beyond).  The extra wages paid workers [sic] covering those on holiday will feed through into the economy as well.”   [Source: Email dated 14 Feb 2012 11.24am. Subject: RE: Costings for Mondayising Waitangi and Anzac days]

The OIA documents are here. Apparently there will be items on this on both TVNZ and 3 News at 6pm tonight.

Only “Cabbage Boat John” is strongly opposed to Mondayisation (so far – the Nats are still “deciding”). Even the business community doesn’t seem too upset about the prospect. So, as usual, the cover-up is the more interesting part of the story. It looks like the process of constructing the official advice was deliberately biased. Why?

8 comments on “True ‘cost’ of Mondayisation deliberately hidden”

  1. Deano 1

    “Email traffic preceding official advice to the Minister acknowledges the likelihood of benefits to the economy, but proposes ‘investigating no further, lest the results be ambiguous’”

    that is a truly worrying statement from an official to a minister. It is not public servants’ job to carve advice to fit their political masters’ political needs.

  2. Cousin Marvin 2

    The really interesting thing for me is in the foot note where it seems to acknowledge the positive effect on the economy of employees being paid more:

    “The extra wages paid workers [sic] covering those on holiday will feed through into the economy as well.”

    So, therefore, increasing the minimum wage would have a positive effect on the economy too, since nearly all of that increase would immediately flow back into retailers tills?

    Hopefully this bills passes. Although it’s just an island of “trickle-down” legislation in a sea of “trickle-up” laws being passed by this government.

    • Zorr 2.1

      You have your trickles the wrong way round. This would be an example of trickle up as opposed to trickle down. This government is all about the pissing on our heads…

  3. I think it’s very difficult to quantify cost advantages of something like this.

    Some businesses will obviously have direct costs, but others won’t lose business overall so will in effect have no additional cost – and could actually reduce costs slightly due to not having to travel and pay for power etc.

    Some businesses – eg retail, leisure and food – can have substantial increases in business on public holidays.

    …productivity gains from the benefits of having rested workers…

    Also difficult to quantify, but it would be interesting to see daily average productivity if working five days a week compared to four days a week. “Friday” productivity is often the opposite of peak.

    Regardless of all the costs arguments, one aspect that shouldn’t be forgotten is consistency of holiday application – it makes sense that all specific date based public holidays are treated the same.

    • Socialist Paddy 3.1

      I don’t understand Pete.  Are you for Mondayising of Waitangi and ANZAC days or are you against it?

      • Pete George 3.1.1

        I support it, I’ve promoted it since it was first drawn from the ballot. The last couple of years have been a confused nonsense.

        • bbfloyd 3.1.1.1

          “the last couple of years have been a confused nonsense”…. which explains that pointless waffle then….honestly now…. why did you bother?

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    Christmas Boxing Day, New Years Day and 2 January are all Mondayised.

    I think Waitangi Day should join them.

    I am not so worried about ANZAC day though. i dont see ANZAC day as a holiday per se. it is a day of remeberence that falls on the anniversay of Gallipoli landing. All the other holidays are supposed to be celbrations but ANZAC is different.

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