Tak­ing a break from hol­i­days

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

drop pub­lic hol­i­days and sim­ply let the av­er­age punter de­cide when to take the time off de­serves a lit­tle more con­sid­er­a­tion than the uned­i­fy­ing vi­sion of his bounc­ing but­tocks on tele­vi­sion.

Just as we all have the choice to turn away from the hor­ror on screen, Sey­mour be­lieves we live in a coun­try where each of us should also be able to choose whether or not to recog­nise na­tional and pro­vin­cial hol­i­days, in­clud­ing the pro­posal to hon­our Matariki.

He would keep just two hol­i­days: Wai­tangi Day, ‘‘be­cause that was the con­sti­tu­tional ba­sis of the coun­try’’; and An­zac Day, be­cause ‘‘that’s when New Zealan­ders went and fought to make sure those free­doms were real’’.

The rest of the days, es­pe­cially the holy ones that de­fined the term ‘‘hol­i­day’’ in the first place, well, they’re just jive.

Al­though his claim that the Gov­ern­ment’s al­lo­ca­tion of hol­i­days makes it a ‘‘fas­cist state’’ may be a step too far.

One as­pect of Sey­mour’s idea needs a lit­tle work: He favours the dump­ing of the nine re­main­ing pub­lic hol­i­days, which in­clude each pro­vin­cial an­niver­sary, leav­ing An­zac Day, Wai­tangi Day and an­nual leave as the only respite for weary work­ers.

We sug­gest that those nine days be re­tained but left up to the in­di­vid­ual to use when and where they see fit.

That’s some­thing with a good groove we could all move to.

It cer­tainly has pos­si­bil­i­ties, even if other politi­cians give it a solid score of ‘0’.

Think of it – busi­nesses would not need to pay pe­nal rates for hol­i­days that no longer ex­ist, al­though they would still need to pro­vide for an em­ployee’s day off at some other time.

So work­ers give up a lit­tle money for the free­dom to have time off when they want it.

No longer would we have to en­dure the ab­surd ar­gu­ments about Easter trad­ing hours: which busi­nesses can stay open, for how long and what they can and can­not sell.

And those busi­nesses would not be able to in­clude sur­charges for what, on any other day, would be the nor­mal pro­vi­sion of ser­vices.

Also gone would be the deadly race to the bot­tom that the hol­i­day traf­fic has be­come.

Sey­mour’s sug­ges­tion would re­move the frus­trat­ing bot­tle­necks that con­trib­ute so much to hol­i­day road tolls by spread­ing the load and, maybe, a lit­tle of the love.

On a lighter note, Easter eggs and hot cross buns could be avail­able all year round and every day would be like Christ­mas, be­cause, un­der Sey­mour’s plan, it very well could be.

Santa is about to get a whole lot busier.

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