Who pays the cost of an extra day off?

Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, September 13th, 2022 - 50 comments
Categories: act, Christopher Luxon, david seymour, Economy, national, workers' rights - Tags:

The Government has announced that we will all have a day off to commemorate the life of Queen Elisabeth.

This seems rational.  As a Irish Catholic Republican I will spend the day thinking about other things but the concept, giving workers a day off to acknowledge a significant event, is not a bad one.  Perhaps the Government could also think about changing the Queen’s Birthday annual holiday into something more locally appropriate, like two days off on Labour Weekend.

Some of the opposition takes have been spectacularly bad.  Like ACT who thinks that employers paying workers to take a day off will somehow make the cost of living crisis worse.

From Stuff:

ACT leader David Seymour said a public holiday would “definitely not” be backed by his party.

“We have a cost of living crisis, and Treasury estimates an extra public holiday would cost $450 million,” he told Newshub.

“We doubt the Queen, who was famous for being a careful spender, would endorse such extravagance when people are struggling to make ends meet.”

Seymour’s representation of Treasury’s view is clearly wrong.  It thought that although the cost of a Friday holiday would be $443.5 million it thought the benefits would be between $310 million and $469 million, leaving open the possibility that holidays may provide a net benefit to businesses.

But if holidays are bad they are bad for employers, not workers, especially those struggling to make ends meet.  For one day they will not need to worry about transport costs or buying take out food.

Act’s insistence shows a disturbing acceptance of trickle down, that getting employers to pay workers more makes workers worse off.

And National, predictably, have come out in support.  Anything to do with the Monarchy gets an automatic tick from them.  It was not that long ago that Christopher Luxon proposed the axing of Labour Day on the basis of cost.  Now because we are celebrating the death of the Queen they are all for it.

50 comments on “Who pays the cost of an extra day off? ”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    It is probably prudent to make the holiday, though NZ people can scarcely attend it. Not to do so would be a gesture of disrespect, that might prove costly later.

    That said, there are people in the world whose passing is probably more worthy of official commemoration.

    I'm sure that, had our government declined to memorialize the event, and had Seymour not already taken a public position on the issue, he would even now be denouncing that decision.

    This is the level of our wretched political process – lip service to the Queen, lip service to representation, climate change, housing, poverty. But basically BAU.

  2. Finn McCool 2

    Labour wasn't going to win this debate regardless of what they did. They have made their choice. Good for them. I'm wondering how much opposition to this one-off observance is because deep down some just hate Jacinda? It's a real worry out there the number of people I've met, or seen interviewed in the media, who hold a real grudge against this woman.

    On the bright side we are safe from civil war for the time being.


    • observer 2.1

      I'm wondering how much opposition to this one-off observance is because deep down some just hate Jacinda?

      I don't think you need to wonder.

      There are some truly weird takes out there (have a look at Stuff comments for example. On second thoughts, don't. Life is too short).

      The PM is being criticised even for going to the funeral. Let's just consider that for a moment. The Head of State dies. The Head of Government goes to the funeral. It could not be more boringly conventional. But it's Jacinda so … splutter, spew, spit.

      They are beyond help.

  3. adam 3

    Just one more example of the anti-worker policies from ACT.

    Love how the far right parties around the world are so open about how much they hate working people these days.

    • tc 3.1

      Seymour's just staying on brand by kicking the workers and 'being wrong' again i.e. lying.

      He's the MSM's go to filler act, rent a rant, reliably anti govt which is good copy for their ends.

  4. Nic the NZer 4

    Seems Seymour also hates the tourism and hospitality sector then, because if any sector gets a boost from a public holiday its that sector. Naturally if you ignore whole sectors in your economic analysis you can draw very missleading conclusions.

  5. Jenny are we there yet 5

    The Government has announced that we will all have a day off to commemorate and reflect on the life of Queen Elisabeth II.

    Why are we making the death of this one individual in this unprecedented manner?

    What comes to my mind is this: We are being bribed and groomed by the conservative establishment with a paid day off to get us to identify with the British monarchy, to get us to accept autocracy and empire as a good thing.

    Which it is not.

    In my opinion, Lorde captured the genuine Kiwi spirit with her anti-royalist lyrics and video that celebrate the nobility of the common people.

    No matter how much they try to persuade and bribe us;

    ‘We Will Never be Royal’


    • Finn McCool 5.1

      Wrong on both counts.

      • Jenny are we there yet 5.1.1


        Wrong on both counts?

        Hi Finn, could you be a bit more specific?

        Are you saying, that both autocracy and imperialism are good things?

        Are you saying that we are not being bribed and groomed to think they are?

        Are you saying we will always be Royal, Royal….

        Cheers J.

        • Finn McCool

          I think too many folk are overthinking what's going on. It's simply acknowledgement for a woman who was born into a cage she never could escape. She spent 70 years in that cage carrying out her duties with only a few minor slip ups. In gang culture it's called ''representing.'' It's about being staunch in your role. The Queen was that. Most fair minded people acknowledge her service while thanking God they weren't born into royalty. She was one of the worlds first major ''influencers'' before those lame f**kwits on social media knew what that meant.

          There is no future for royalty in NZ. There's no need to worry about imperialism, or Luxon demanding Charlie rule over us. What you should worry about is what follows after we give King Charlie the chop.

          Lorde's song Royal wasn't as far as I know about royalty or anti royal sentiment.

          • Blazer

            Dead right Finn.

            I am no monarchist…but as a person Elizabeth2 deserves the greatest respect for how she carried herself with humility and compassion for 70 years.Amazing woman..stoic and selfless.

          • Jenny are we there yet

            Lorde's global hit song is about the dignity of the common people as opposed of the glorification of elites represented in this song by Royalty.

            The first verse compares an address in a poor part of town, to the decadence of the spoiled rich. Who get away with things poor people would be arrested for.

            …I'm not proud of my address
            In the torn up town
            No post code envy

            But every song's like gold teeth, grey goose
            Trippin' in the bathroom
            Blood stains, ball gowns
            Trashin' the hotel room….

            …..But everybody's like cristal, maybach
            Diamonds on your timepiece
            Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash

            And it is hard to mistake the meaning in this line.

            …..we'll never be royals (royals)
            It don't run in our blood
            That kind of lux just ain't for us
            We crave a different kind of buzz

            The song is not just about royals but the whole glorification of the wealthy and privileged elites in our class divided society, in the media in magazines and talk shows. The people, (among a smattering of truly worthy individuals) who are showered with praise in the royal honours list. It is constantly drummed into us that these people are our social betters people we are conditioned to look up to and admire. A class of people we should wait on and show deference to as their due. At the top of this pile of wealth and class privilege we are supposed to show deference to is the Royal family.

            In revulsion at this social conditioning Lorde sings, that kind of lux just ain't for us.

            • Blazer

              'we'll never be royals (royals)
              It don't run in our blood
              That kind of luxon just ain't for us
              We crave a different kind of buzz'wink

            • Corey Humm

              Actually as a millennial, I can confirm that Lorde's song royals is a criticism of braggadocios hip hop culture.

              The songs chorus is literally a criticism of rappers , I don't think the queen ever released an album where every song was her drinking grey goose and cristal, wearing diamond grill teeth, trashing hotel rooms and driving Cadillacs bragging about her labels and gold time piece :p

              The royal part comes from internet Stan culture "we Stan (worship) our king Eminem,Kanye,Drake" "Beyonce/Britney/Gaga/Nikki is our queen"

              In fact the reason she chose the stage name was because she wanted to sound elite/royal.

              Its actually a really clever song.

              But no we'll never be royal…. Or even be able to afford to live in the north shore where Lorde grew up.

              • Jenny are we there yet

                "It is actually a really clever song"

                You're not wrong there.

                And there are many interpretations of this song as there are of all great works of art. And often the artists themselves are amazed that their works often develop a life of their own and even meaning that the artist didn't see themselves.

                And I admit I may have missed the pop references.

                The video that is most commonly played with the song, shot in black and white, speaks to the dignity of the common people as opposed of the glorification of elites represented in this song as 'Royals'.

                You are not wrong the hip hop references are there and their stars do represent decadent elites.

                And these stars are being mocked as a sort of pop 'royalty'.

                On a deeper, (maybe even hidden) level, the song is a revolt against all elitism.

                I remember reading an interview with Lorde where she revealed that as a very young girl she was a royalist and followed the royals in the media and gossip magazines and pasted up photos of the Royals in her bed room. But that she later revolted against this as childish delusion.

                Coming from the North Shore Lorde herself may never have counted her money on the train to the Party, she expresses solidarity with those who do have to count their pennies and can see their dignity.

                And the song certainly hit a nerve. In the Royal Tour of this country by William and Kate, though still being a recent hit at the time, not quite banned, but the song was noticeably absent from radio play lists during the period of their Royal visit.

                ….we'll never be royals (royals)
                It don't run in our blood
                That kind of lux just ain't for us
                We crave a different kind of buzz

                And we do, even if we don't know it.


  6. Ad 6

    The government should design and build a QE2 memorial, one for all our main cities. Huge and taxpayer funded with the King.

    • Sanctuary 6.1

      With a giant equestrian statue of Charles III surrounded by spaniels, so we can enjoy the pun of Cavalier King Charles's spaniels.

    • Jenny are we there yet 6.2

      All New Zealand males be made to bow and bare their necks in front of the carved likeness of the King, in ritual recognition of the sovereign's ancient right to chop off their heads.

      And all us womenfolk be made to lift our hems and bend our knees and lower ourselves in a curtsy, in ritual recognition of sovereign's ancient right to Droit Du Seigneur.

  7. Incognito 7

    Short notice of a short(er) week just before the School Holidays. Don’t mind the teachers and students who will have to accommodate this, at such short notice, and not getting a cent paid extra (or at all, in the case of the students).

    Personally, I find Public Holidays a pain in the proverbial. Give everyone sufficient annual leave entitlement and let them choose when to take it, e.g., with an opt-out for those ‘special days’ – each culture will view & value those differently. Most people (and their work mates and employers) know better/best – people’s home situations can vary widely too.

    • dernier cri 7.1

      @Incognito just FYI many people aren't entitled to any annual leave entitlement as we work in casual contract jobs. Yes indeed, many people have very different workplace situations, and mine do not include any entitlements, including no sick leave. I'm a casual contract lecturer at one of our universities, which are terrible employers. Nice to have an extra public holiday, whatever it commemorates, and I will be hanging out in my garden with my (non-corgi) dogs on my day off.

  8. Visubversa 8

    Us retired old farts will totter up to one of our local cafes on the Monday and have lunch to support the local business. Even if we have to pay a public holiday surcharge. That is however, all we will do to mark the occasion.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    “Cost of living crisis”…really Mr Seymour? He is anti union and anti Māori. His monetarist party supports dog eat dog capitalism to the max and beyond. A public holiday is nothing compared to what the 1%ers take out of this country every day. Micky has pointed out the service and other industries will likely benefit. I know several people that are making a point of patronising local cafes on the day.

    ACT and other right wing elements seem to like the idea of a Republican NZ because it could disappear the Crown in terms of negotiation with Māori. Which would really be a device to stall or negate treaty settlements. ACT is on record as wanting to eliminate the Māori electorates. They are Trumpers through and through.

  10. Doogs 10

    Well, here’s something else to moan about! As if there weren’t enough real problems to concern ourselves with. And we blame Luxon and Seymour for seeing the negative in everything our government does? Could we not have a rant about the terrible abuse Jacinta gets, or the dreadful state of motel accomodation, or the pollution occurring in former pristine areas, or the inequity and obscenity of super rich people, or . . . , or . . .
    I’m not a monarchist nor am I a republican, but this woman whom the UK and the Commonwealth are mourning has not been responsible for the atrocities inflicted under previous reigns. Both she and Charles have repeatedly apologised for the indignities and unfairness visited upon peoples of the Empire (no longer exists). These unfortunate events were perpetrated and perpetuated by governments not powerless figurehead monarchs.

    • Obtrectator 10.1

      Quite a few of those "unfortunate events" were triggered or perpetrated by business concerns, such as the British East India Company.

  11. If businesses are in such dire straits should they not close down before they are trading whilst insolvent?

    Plenty of work available on the land

  12. To my Grandmother's and Mother’s generation Royalty was their taste of glamour. There were "Picture Halls" and news of the Royals was also in the early New Zealand Woman's Weekly, which began in 1932. Theatres grew after the war as Memorial Halls were built in most towns. Scrap Books were popular as Pictures were saved from the Herald Supplements and The NZ Woman's Weekly and of course listen to the BBC World Service, long before TV and the internet.

  13. Mike the Lefty 13

    The NZ government would have looked like a bunch of republican ingrates if they hadn't decided in favour of a one-off public holiday. Popular opinion does seem to be on their side on this one.

    ACT's predictable whinging is that of a party that is totally divorced from ordinary New Zealanders – the ones that work six days a week or more to support their families doing the shit jobs that ACT members would consider beneath them.

    My beef is that this public holiday is really just a trading day in disguise. It is just like business as usual except that the rich listers that own McDonalds, KFC, The Warehouse, Progressive, Foodstuffs, etc. have to pay their employers a bit more for their privilege of being able to stay open.

    To make it a meaningful holiday it should have been modelled on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Anzac Day when trading is extremely limited.

    On the other hand, and the weather is favourable, it will the first time in over two years that New Zealanders can get out to their favourite haunts en masse without having to wear a damned mask and we can be glad of that.

  14. tsmithfield 14

    It is costing us, though nowhere near as much as it is costing some businesses.

    We have a number of our staff going on a training course booked for Monday the 26th and Tuesday the 27th. The trainers are coming from the UK. So, the course is going ahead regardless.

    The cost for us is that we have to pay our staff time and one half plus give them a day in lieu.

    Plus there is a day of charge out we will miss out on due to the holiday. So, all up will probably cost us between $5000 and $10000. Quite a lot considering we are not a large business.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 14.1

      We have a number of our staff going on a training course booked for Monday the 26th and Tuesday the 27th. The trainers are coming from the UK. So, the course is going ahead regardless.

      between $5000 and $10000.

      Oh really. Thats a pretty wide guesstimate : ) And so, what if (sad as that would be!) a Staff member….or even ! A UK based trainer had some unfortunate event…or even passed away. How WOULD you cope….

      • tsmithfield 14.1.1

        Just pointing out that there are costs for business as unintended consequences of the government's decision. As mentioned some businesses are far worse affected than us.

        The fact that it has been flagged so late is the issue. If it were announced for say three months from now, most businesses could handle that without a problem.

        • Craig H

          Unfortunately, the death of the head of state can't always be planned, and memorials months later don't really hit the mark.

  15. rrm (yes the kiwiblog one) 15

    leaving open the possibility that holidays may provide a net benefit to businesses

    I'd love to see anybody elaborate on how they think that could possibly be true, in their own words.

    A business that has to shut for the day, has:

    • All of their usual wage costs for the day.
    • all of their usual rent costs for the day.
    • zero revenue for the day.

    Magic sky hooks and the positive power of wishful thinking are the only things that come to mind here. John Key eats babies?

    • Belladonna 15.1

      However, businesses that are open – especially those catering to the entertainment sector – have the opportunity to do a roaring day's trade – much greater than a standard Monday.

      Most restaurants/cafes will add a holiday surcharge (covering the increased wages cost) – and those which are usually closed Mondays (quite a lot of restaurants are) – will be cost neutral [if you don't usually work that Monday, you don't get paid leave]

      If it's a fine day, I'd expect the Takapuna Beach Front cafe (for example) to sell 5 or 6 times the number of ice-creams that they would usually do on a Monday – and have their brunch through to lunch numbers typical of a Sunday (i.e. packed to the rafters) rather than the genteel sprinkle of elderly typical on a Monday.

      I recognize that this isn't true of a butcher, or candlestick maker – though the baker might do well….

      • rrm (yes the kiwiblog one) 15.1.1

        It would have to be a truly "roaring" trade indeed to cover time and a half plus a day in lieu, which is a 250% increase in the biggest cost.

        Why not make it an unpaid day off? It's only one day, and getting by for one day with all of the costs and zero revenue is easy right?

        • Belladonna

          Actually, an awful lot of them will be pulling casual staff in to cover – so no extra leave required.

          But, you should feel free to work unpaid for a day, since you feel so strongly…..

        • Craig H

          My personal experience of someone who worked in and managed fast food for 10 years was that Monday public holidays didn't lose money once the increase in sales on Sunday and Monday was taken into account.

          Monday is the quietest day of the week for most fast food outlets and Saturday is the busiest (there are exceptions of course).

          A public holiday on a Monday effectively worked out as replacing a quiet Monday with a Saturday because sales on the Sunday before the public holiday would increase to Saturday levels, and sales on the public holiday Monday would increase to Sunday levels. Even with somewhat higher wages on the public holidays, the places still did well (I had full access to all the figures, so could clearly see it).

          That increase in sales the night before a public holiday was normal, so although they don't offset the costs so much on other days, the worst day for a public holiday was Saturday, but even there, Mondayising helped by increasing Monday public holidays taken leading to higher sales as above.

          That's obviously a particular sector, but if weekends are busier for restaurants and bars than Mondays (likely – that's my observation), then a Monday public holiday is at least offset better than a Saturday one would be (for example).

        • Chris

          If a business runs so close to the wind that it can't absorb one flamin' day when their ability to 'maximise profits' might be curtailed, then whoever's running it is doing something wrong, probably a lot wrong. And I'd start with their attitude.

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