Monday-ised holidays, extended parental leave progress through Parliament

Monday-ised holidays are one step closer, with Labour’s holiday amendment bill making it to its second reading in Parliament.

Monday-ised holidays are one step closer, with Labour’s holiday amendment bill making it to its second reading in Parliament.

The private members’ bill was submitted by Dunedin north MP Dr David Clark and passed through with a one-vote majority thanks to United Future’s Peter Dunne.

The bill would transfer Waitangi Day and Anzac Day to a Monday if they fall on a weekend.

"We will always honour Waitangi and Anzac Day but losing a public holiday when it falls on a weekend just isn’t right. This bill simply makes sure that a quirk of the date doesn’t stop Kiwis getting a well-deserved 11 public holidays a year," said Clark.

“Despite businesses supporting the bill, the government has done their best in financial scaremongering. The worst figure they can come up with is a cost of 13c per worker per day and their own advisors admit that’s ‘likely to be overstated’. Their figures deliberately included the 228,000 self-employed people who aren’t affected by changes to public holidays.

“Only National and Act oppose this bill. John Key is on the wrong side of Parliament, public opinion, the tourism industry and many businesses. He should suck up his pride and support this bill."

Meanwhile, a bill to extend paid parental leave from 14 to 26 weeks also passed its first reading.

While finance minister Bill English has said the government will use its power power to stop the bill becoming law, saying it could cost $500 million over three years, Labour MP Sue Moroney (who introduced the bill) said she had Department of Labour advice estimating the cost at $285.6 million over the same period.

And today, a new coalition called 26 for Babies launched in support of the bill.

Spokesperson Deborah Morris-Travers said the move to increase paid parental leave beyond the current 14 weeks is broadly supported.

26 for Babies brings together child and parent advocates, breastfeeding organisations, health bodies, and representatives of women and working women in a campaign focused on our smallest citizens – newborn infants.

“Every parent and grandparent knows that 14 weeks is very early to be sending babies out into the world and that we should do more to support families to care for their babies at home in the early months of life."

“We congratulate Labour MP Sue Moroney on promoting the bill to take paid parental leave

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