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’.
“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
 “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?