Have some faith in us
A bill to ‘‘ Mondayise’’ public holidays that fall on the weekend passed its second reading last week, suggesting common sense may indeed prevail.
We can be thankful Labour MP David Clark’s bill returned to the house in the wake of public consternation with National’s decisions to sell off state assets. Vetoing the bill would have been a second cold shoulder to public opinion in as many months.
National will still vote against Anzac and Waitangi long weekends, decrying the $200 million dent they would apparently have on the economy, but the Government knows which battles are good to lose and which can be bad to win.
We understand the concern of RSAs, that the significance of Anzac Day could be diluted if part of a ‘‘holiday weekend’’, where families’ focus may turn to travel and other events. But have a little faith in us. Commemorations will still be held on the traditional dates.
The growing attendance at Anzac Day ceremonies in recent years – particularly among young people – should instil confidence in the high regard most Kiwis hold April 25. This won’t change because we may be visiting another town or have had family to stay.
And we don’t recall any lagging national consciousness in the years Anzac and Waitangi day have fallen on a Friday.
If still in doubt, look at the Americans. They aligned their public holidays with long weekends in 1968, and you would be hard pressed to find a people more reverent in honouring their past.
As for the burden on the economy, we feel most New Zealanders have viewed it from the other side. Businesses have for too long enjoyed a bonus windfall from Waitangi and Anzac days falling on a weekend – and it’s time for that to end.