Home > Dollars & Sense, Social Issues > Why Garden Centres LOVE public holidays!

Why Garden Centres LOVE public holidays!

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Of course, the irony here is that companies like Oderings rely on public holidays to increase their turnover.

If public holidays were treated like any other day, and all businesses were open to trade, Oderings, et al, wouldn’t have the benefit of that foot traffic to boost their own trade. Everyone would be working. It would be another ordinary day.

So it’s a wee bit disingenuous of Oderings to state,

We have got an archaic law. Nobody suffers [from us being open]. Customers don’t suffer; staff don’t suffer as we ask them if they want to be here.” – Source

If public holidays were like any other day, all businesses,  schools, and government departments should be open as well.  In which case we wouldn’t have public holidays anymore. We would have given them away for — ???

Having some businesses open, whilst others obey the law, is unfair. It’s unfair on other businesses, and it’s unfair on staff who are “encouraged” to work on public holidays so the rest of us can benefit from their “choice” to sacrifice a day off.

I see nothing remotely fair about this and Oderings and other businesses who choose to break the law are doing it for their own private gain – not for the common good. They are capitalising on restrictions that others  obey.

We either have public holidays, or we don’t. That’s what New Zealanders need to decide for themselves, and for their country.

We need to ask a very simple question: what is a public holiday?

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  1. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:09 pm

    There are no restructions on trading on most public holidays now. Still public holidays like Queen’s Birthday, New Years and Labour Day are big sale days. That’s because while retailers open as usual, everyone else closes down, because it’s more expensive to pay time-and-a-half and a day in lieu, rather than just ordinary time for the public holiday.

  2. 7 April 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Once businesses open on all remaining public holidays (Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday; and on Anzac Day till 1pm), how long will it be before time-and-a-half and a day in lieu is done away with, as it was for retail staff working weekends.

    I can see it happening – utterly predictable.

  3. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Highly unlikely. What policy analyst is going to recommend that they lose their public holidays?

  4. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I don’t see Christmas Day being made equivalent to other public holidays any time soon. It’s as much a secular holiday as a holy day – there would be riots. ANZAC Day too is sacred to New Zealanders, rather than any subset of the population.

    Easter, on the other hand, is very much a Christian holy festival. To everyone else (and many who still identify as Christian, for that matter) it’s just an excuse for spiced fruit buns and chocolate. Given that Christians are now outnumbered by non-Christians in New Zealand, why should their religious festivals have special status?

    Why not let everyone nominate two days for their own sacred observance? Maori might choose Matariki and Poutuerangi, for example. I’d probably pick my birthday and wedding anniversary. Or maybe the kids’ birthdays. Or perhaps Star Wars Day and Steak and Blow Job Day. Any of those have more significance for me than Easter. Well… maybe not the last pair. Spiced Fruit Bun Day and Chocolate Egg Day are probably more important to me than them.

    Oh, and as for the weekends… people still get days off. They just don’t all get them on Saturday and Sunday any more. I know when I was working retail, I rather liked having one weekend day and one weekday off. Some of the younger people preferred to work the weekend, because they made more commission that way.

  5. 7 April 2012 at 8:15 pm

    “Highly unlikely. What policy analyst is going to recommend that they lose their public holidays?”

    Probably the same ones who got rid of penal rates for weekend work (which used to be paid, many moons ago)…

    I think they’d allow full retailing on Easter; and then move it to half Christmas Day; then all day Christmas Day. Dunno about ANZAC Day – you may be right in that commercialising that day would be a step too far. But with neo-liberals, who can tell? They’d sell thell grandmothers on the “free market”, given a chance…

  6. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:18 pm

    But policy analysts don’t work weekends, Frank. I think you’re falling for the slippery slope fallacy. There are many things that really are wrong with the world – why borrow trouble?

  7. 7 April 2012 at 8:24 pm

    “Why not let everyone nominate two days for their own sacred observance? Maori might choose Matariki and Poutuerangi, for example. I’d probably pick my birthday and wedding anniversary. Or maybe the kids’ birthdays. Or perhaps Star Wars Day and Steak and Blow Job Day. Any of those have more significance for me than Easter. Well… maybe not the last pair. Spiced Fruit Bun Day and Chocolate Egg Day are probably more important to me than them.

    Oh, and as for the weekends… people still get days off. They just don’t all get them on Saturday and Sunday any more. I know when I was working retail, I rather liked having one weekend day and one weekday off. Some of the younger people preferred to work the weekend, because they made more commission that way.”

    Which basically means the end of Public Holidays as we know them. If we nominate any two days of there own, that’s not a social event – that’s a personal, individualised activity. No different to workers having four weeks Annual Leave.

  8. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:27 pm

    It needn’t be. Provided that workers’ right to nominate was appropriately protected, it could strengthen communities – other than Christians of course, who already get to have their holy days as special days off.

    At the moment we’re forced to be communal on Christina holy days. Why? What about Maori holy days? What about pagan holy days? What about Jewish and Muslim and Hindu and Sikh and Buddhist and… Why can’t they have their holy days as community festivals?

    Obviously we couldn’t have super-sacred holidays for all of those. But what makes Christian holy days so special?

  9. 7 April 2012 at 8:29 pm

    ‎”There are many things that really are wrong with the world – why borrow trouble?”

    ???

    Hmmm, that doesn’t address the issue, that just evades it. Just because there’s always Another Problem around the corner doesn’t absolve us from addressing each issue as it arises.

    For retailers and for society as a whole, this is an issue. Especially as legislation is involved. It raises legitamate questions;

    * Do we value public holidays as a community?

    * Are Public Holidays an archaic left-over – or something we should preserve?

    * How do remunerate those who give up their holidays for essential serives? Non-essential services?

    * Why should one sector be able to carry out commercial activities – but not others? If shopworkers have to work – why not everyone else?

    As I said, these are legitamate questions, as there are those who are breaking the law, and society needs to respond to this issue, one way or another.

  10. 7 April 2012 at 8:31 pm

    ‎”It needn’t be. Provided that workers’ right to nominate was appropriately protected, it could strengthen communities – other than Christians of course, who already get to have their holy days as special days off.”

    I don’t see it as “strenthening” communities at all. Not when some will be working and others may not. There’s nothing that “strengthens” anything if half your family is at work, whilst the other half is not.

    Anyway, there are only about four or five days out of 365 days. It’s amazing that some are prepared to sacrifice a community Holiday for something as frivolous as— shopping? In which case, it appears that society’s needs and values have changed considerably if people prefer to shop rather than enjoy a handful of days off.

    Perhaps society is evolving that way?

    But I doubt that according to some of the (unscientific) polls I’ve seen.

  11. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Sure, your nominated questions are legitimate. But your slippery slope argument is borrowing a problem that doesn’t yet exist. Nobody has yet suggested that public holidays shouldn’t exist. They’re only questioning whether it should be illegal to trade on a handful of “super-holidays”, or whether all public holidays should be treated alike.

    As for community, you’ve completely evaded my point. At present Christians dictate when everybody has their holidays. Why should we all be forced to take Christian holy days off? If a family wants to celebrate together they should be able to all nominate the same days as sacred. But why should the Maori and Jewish and Muslim and Hindu families have to treat Christian holy days as sacred? Why shouldn’t Maori communities and Sikh communities and Buddhst communities get to strengthen themselves on their own holy days?

    What makes Christianity so special?

  12. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:36 pm

    People still want their days off – but you’re right – society has evolved. For better or worse, we aren’t a homogenous society which gathers in the town square of a Sunday any more. Perhaps it’s as much about population growth as anything else. A village may want and need to celebrate together, but does it really make sense for a city of a million people to all try to have a party on the same day?

  13. 7 April 2012 at 8:38 pm

    ‎”But your slippery slope argument is borrowing a problem that doesn’t yet exist. Nobody has yet suggested that public holidays shouldn’t exist. They’re only questioning whether it should be illegal to trade on a handful of “super-holidays”, or whether all public holidays should be treated alike.”

    I’m not sure why you claim the “problem doesn’t exist”. Twentytwo retailers were caught breaking the law today. They do it every year, and get a small fine. Yet, it’s premedidated.

    So the issue exists.

    It’s not an matter of “slippery slope” at all.

    The question “whether it should be illegal to trade on a handful of “super-holidays”, or whether all public holidays should be treated alike” is certainly part of the debate.

    “As for community, you’ve completely evaded my point. At present Christians dictate when everybody has their holidays. Why should we all be forced to take Christian holy days off? If a family wants to celebrate together they should be able to all nominate the same days as sacred. But why should the Maori and Jewish and Muslim and Hindu families have to treat Christian holy days as sacred? Why shouldn’t Maori communities and Sikh communities and Buddhst communities get to strengthen themselves on their own holy days?”

    I think THAT is a fair question. But instead of ‘taking away’ a holiday because other groups don’t have theirs, would only create social friction. Issues like that can (and should) be addressed.

    Regarding Christmas – for some it’s a religious observance and I have no problem with that. For others (like me) it’s a family day, and a day to commemorate Peace on Earth (which doesn’t need to have religious significance).

  14. 7 April 2012 at 8:40 pm

    ‎”People still want their days off – but you’re right – society has evolved. For better or worse, we aren’t a homogenous society which gathers in the town square of a Sunday any more. Perhaps it’s as much about population growth as anything else. A village may want and need to celebrate together, but does it really make sense for a city of a million people to all try to have a party on the same day?”

    That’s one of the questions society has to answer.

    But if we choose to give away statutory holidays for retailers, then it must be across the board. You can’t have one sector of society “encouraged” to work on so-called public holidays – if other sectors are exploiting their work. That simply breeds resentment.

  15. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I don’t see how allowing people to nominate their own sacred days takes away from those who want to have Good Friday and Easter Sunday be those days.

    You’re still stuck on “giving away” public holidays. Again, nobody but you has suggested that they might be abolished. Waitangi Day, Queens Birthday, et. al. are still special and that’s unlikely to change. It’s just not illegal to work them. But if you do work them, you get paid MORE money AND still get another day off instead. I don’t see that as retail workers being exploited. I see that as retail workers being appropriately compensated for working unsociable hours.

    A better battle would be to bring back penal rates for working more than a 40 hour week.

  16. 7 April 2012 at 8:50 pm

    ‎”I don’t see how allowing people to nominate their own sacred days takes away from those who want to have Good Friday and Easter Sunday be those days.”

    One of the main arguments for a Public Holiday is just that: it’s Public. A family (generally) will spend that holiday together – not having half working and half not.

    That is precisely what is happening now, on weekends, where 7 days a week retailing (and other businesses) see families working at different times.

    The few Public Holidays we have (generally) allows families the opportunity to be together, without commercial imperatives intruding.

    We have enough demands made on our time already…

    “You’re still stuck on “giving away” public holidays. Again, nobody but you has suggested that they might be abolished. Waitangi Day, Queens Birthday, et. al. are still special and that’s unlikely to change. It’s just not illegal to work them. But if you do work them, you get paid MORE money AND still get another day off instead. I don’t see that as retail workers being exploited. I see that as retail workers being appropriately compensated for working unsociable hours.

    As someone who has seen society give away it’s weekends for the dubious “pleasure” of 7 Days Shooping, I think I have an insight as to how it evolved, through the late 1980s. And it was a “slippery slope”.

    First it was half-days on Saturdays. Then all day Saturdays. Then the whole weekend.

    Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt (on a weekday).

    “A better battle would be to bring back penal rates for working more than a 40 hour week.”

    Agreed. But in reality, what do you think would be the cances of that succeeding? Especially with the weakened Unions we have currently?

    I think that’s a great idea. But I give it a nil chance of succeeding.

  17. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I think you’re conflating the issues of public observance and family time. We have four weeks annual leave now, vs. three weeks in the past. Surely that makes up for the loss of some public holiday cohesion as far as families are concerned?

    Public observance is a separate issue, which we’ve agreed is legitimately addressed by your set of questions earlier in the thread. Again, I don’t see secular public holidays being threatened any further – everyone sees the value in having them. The question is not whether we should have them, but how they should be observed.

    As for the forty hour work week. I do think that’s a battle which will be fought again and is winnable. It won’t be easy of course, but it wasn’t exactly a cake-walk for the campaigners in the 1930s either. We’re probably not far enough adrift from the ideal yet for battle to be joined, but this is one area where things do seem to be genuinely slipping.

  18. 7 April 2012 at 9:00 pm

    ‎”I think you’re conflating the issues of public observance and family time. We have four weeks annual leave now, vs. three weeks in the past. Surely that makes up for the loss of some public holiday cohesion as far as families are concerned?”

    Four weeks annual leave is still not a guarantee for families – especially extended families from having time together. Don’t forget, this is about families, but families can includes mixed families, friends, etc.

    A community – despite Thatcher’s claim – is more than just a family. It’s about a society having a certain degree of cohesion.

    A public holiday gives form to that cohesion.

    You mentioned above that a village can have a day off – but can a million people?

    Of course – our American cuzzies do it all the time. Eg; Thanksgiving.

    But family time is just one aspect. “Downtime” for society as a whole (generally) is another. All are reasons for observed significant dates.

    As for observing religious dates from other ethnic/religious groups – I agree, that needs to be addressed, if only for fairness. I think that’s a valid issue for an incoming Labour-led government to look at!

    “As for the forty hour work week. I do think that’s a battle which will be fought again and is winnable. It won’t be easy of course, but it wasn’t exactly a cake-walk for the campaigners in the 1930s either. We’re probably not far enough adrift from the ideal yet for battle to be joined, but this is one area where things do seem to be genuinely slipping.”

    Considering the unholy war at Ports of Auckland, where management wanted to casualise the workforce, the battle at the moment is to maintain what little workers have left by way of guaranteed full time work.

    The casualisation of the workforce and driving down of wages is an ongoing conflict at present.

    It would a Labour-led government, with a strong Gree and Mana Party left-wing influence to bring about such a change as you suggest. The fight-back from employers would be significant.

    Talk about “borrowing for trouble”!!

    But hell, I’d support it 101%!

  19. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Community cohesion is the public observance thing. Extended families can co-ordinate annual leave, so I don’t see that as an issue – except where employers are invoking the closedown statute. For that reason I don’t think they should be able to closedown for more than two weeks, but that’s a separate issue.

    Casualisation too, is a separate issue.

    As for religious observances, you can’t have them all be super-holidays. And if not all of them, then why any of them? You still haven’t addressed that question. What’s so special about Christian holidays?

  20. 7 April 2012 at 9:19 pm

    “Community cohesion is the public observance thing. Extended families can co-ordinate annual leave, so I don’t see that as an issue – except where employers are invoking the closedown statute. For that reason I don’t think they should be able to closedown for more than two weeks, but that’s a separate issue.”

    Extended families co-ordinating annual leave can be diabolical. And if people have used up all their leave? Families often draw on annual leave for family emergencies; unforeseen child-minding; etc, etc. And some employers can be bloody-minded when it comes time to give annual leave around certain “peak” periods. (Have experienced that myself.)

    Again, I refer you to community cohesion – of which family-time is but one aspect.

    “Casualisation too, is a separate issue.”

    I disagree. Not only is it related, but it’s an integral part of workers’ conditions. You referred to it yourself above (and quite rightly to) when you mentioned, “As for the forty hour work week. I do think that’s a battle which will be fought again and is winnable. It won’t be easy of course, but it wasn’t exactly a cake-walk for the campaigners in the 1930s either”. You’re on the right track.

    The driving down of wages; de-Unionisation; reduction of conditions – they are all inter-related. The threat to stat hols is another attack on workers – albeit in a manner that is seductive and appealing to the middle classes (more shopping time – oh yay).

    “As for religious observances, you can’t have them all be super-holidays. And if not all of them, then why any of them? You still haven’t addressed that question. What’s so special about Christian holidays?’

    Actually, I believe I did, above. Eg; “Regarding Christmas – for some it’s a religious observance and I have no problem with that. For others (like me) it’s a family day, and a day to commemorate Peace on Earth (which doesn’t need to have religious significance).”

  21. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I wasn’t referring to Christmas. I’ve said all along that Christmas is as much a secular holiday as a religious one. The issue is Easter. Why should Easter be a super-holiday? Two days of it even.

  22. 7 April 2012 at 9:43 pm

    “I wasn’t referring to Christmas. I’ve said all along that Christmas is as much a secular holiday as a religious one. The issue is Easter. Why should Easter be a super-holiday? Two days of it even.”

    There have been calls from some (notably the Business Round Table, bless their cold-cash laden little cotton socks) to allow retail trading on Christmas Day.

    As for Easter, there are several reasons.

    One is historical.

    Two is it’s observance by the majority (I have no stats on that).

    Three is if Easter goes – what follows next? Christmas and ANZAC Day. Slippery slope.

    Four – it does give (most) workers time off. God knows we need a few days (four!) for people to rest and recreate together. Sorry, but breaking it up into individulised units doesn’t cut it.

    I understand you don’t accept the “slippery slope” – but having experienced political machinations where “reforms” were introduced on a gradual basis, I can confirm that politicians do use it as a means of softening up public resistance.

    I can offer examples if you like. (Though I already gave you the example of weekend trading.)

    The point is, Robert, if we (a) give away our stat hols and replace them with choose-your-own dates and (b) what is a stat hol in that case?

    And just as importantly, why should we give them up? What is the net benefit for anyone?

    So far, the only “benefit” I keep hearing is: extra shopping.

    That’s not a benefit. That’s a curse.

  23. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 10:13 pm

    History is a poor argument. That way lies slavery and persecution of Maori, homosexuals, women, etc. Not to mention far poorer labour laws. Well… an almost complete lack of them actually.

    Christians are no longer the majority (almost certainly). Going by the trend between the 1996 and 2006 censuses, Christians are likely to now be about 46% of the population. I suspect it’s lower actually, since Dawkins, et al. have been advocating for active atheism recently. That may have led many more Christians-in-name-only to renounce the religion altogether. We won’t know for sure until the results of the delayed 2013 census are in.

    So again I ask, what’s makes Christian holy days so special?

    Slippery slope is a logical fallacy. Things change. The slippery slope only makes sense if you’re a conservative and you see ANY change as bad. Saturdays and Sundays aren’t universal days off now, but then we now have four weeks annual leave. We don’t have overtime, but we have legislated breaks. We can be required to work public holidays, but we have paid parental leave. Which way is that slope leaning again?

    Easter isn’t four days off. It’s two – Friday and Sunday (or days in lieu thereof). The rest is regular days – on or off as the case may be, depending on whether you normally work any of the affected days.

    Nobody is suggesting we should abolish public holidays altogether. Nobody is denying that people need time off from time to time. I doubt the BRT will get far with Christmas Day shopping – and that’s news to me. Again – more than just a holy day.

    As for shopping… one man’s blessing is another man’s curse. And vice versa.

  24. 7 April 2012 at 10:33 pm

    “History is a poor argument. That way lies slavery and persecution of Maori, homosexuals, women, etc. Not to mention far poorer labour laws. Well… an almost complete lack of them actually.”

    ???

    Really? So you don’t subscribe to the notion that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it?

    “Christians are no longer the majority (almost certainly).”

    As I said – no stats.

    But they are numerically in the majority compared to, say, those who tick “Jedi” on the census form.

    “So again I ask, what’s makes Christian holy days so special?”

    Answers given above. You may not agree with them – but them’s it.

    By the way, half of the Stat Hols are not religious; Waitangi Day (half a day); Anzac Day (Ditto); Queen’s Birthday (doffs hat); Labour Day (ha!); New Year’s Day; Jan 2 (commonly known as Hangover Day); and various regional Anniversay Days.

    So Stat hols are observed for reasons other than worshipping supernatural deities.

    “Slippery slope is a logical fallacy. Things change. The slippery slope only makes sense if you’re a conservative and you see ANY change as bad. Saturdays and Sundays aren’t universal days off now, but then we now have four weeks annual leave. ”

    Actually, it’s not a “fallacy” at all. It’s a common expression used to denote real human behaviour.

    I didn’t say Saturday and Sunday shopping was bad (though I have concerns at the consequence of that change). But I gave you a perfectly valid example of how the Slippery Slope method was used to introduce weekend shopping. It wasn’t enacted in one go; it was spread out over a period of time, to give the public time to adjust.

    Soon after, the Employment Contracts Act allowed penal rates for Saturdays and Sundays (time and a quarter and time and a half, if I remember correctly) was abolished.

    So workers lost out by ,

    (a) losing weekends & affecting work/life balance

    (b) losing penal pay

    “…but then we now have four weeks annual leave.”

    Indeed – some twenty years later!

    “Nobody is suggesting we should abolish public holidays altogether. Nobody is denying that people need time off from time to time. I doubt the BRT will get far with Christmas Day shopping – and that’s news to me. Again – more than just a holy day…”

    If people are “encouraged” to work on Stat Hols – then what makes those days “holidays”??? They become just like any other day. Just like Saturdays and Sundays. You make not be “abolishing” them – but the end-result is the same: people working on holidays.

    What we end up with is a day on the calendar with a name attached to it – but without meaning or significance.

    The BRT thing – I’ll see if I can find it, in my files or online.

  25. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 10:52 pm

    No Frank, you still haven’t answered why Christian holy days are special. You’ve explained why they ARE currently observed, but not why they SHOULD BE.

    There’s a difference between “the lessons of history” and “tradition”. Tradition is a value in and of itself, but where tradition is incompatible with modern sensibilities, it’s not failure to learn the lessons of history to change the tradition.

    Plurality is not majority, and even if it were, surely you’re not advocating tyranny of the majority? Talk about failing to learn the lessons of history!

    Extrapolation is not the same as no statistics, Frank. But for the sake of argument, let’s just ASSUME that I’m right that roughly 46% of the population are Christian (or eventually will be). Why SHOULD their holy days be foisted on the majority who aren’t Christian?

  26. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 11:10 pm

    And yes, I’m focussing on the holy days. The other public holidays are adequately addressed by your list of questions from earlier, which I’ve already acknowledged are legitimate questions for public debate, but about which I don’t intend to offer any opinion.

  27. 7 April 2012 at 11:11 pm

    ”No Frank, you still haven’t answered why Christian holy days are special. You’ve explained why they ARE currently observed, but not why they SHOULD BE.”

    I’ve never claimed that “Christian holy days are special”. You have.

    I have though, maintained that we should maintain our current public holidays. Personally, I don’t care if a holiday is Easter, Kwanzai, or worshipping the Holy Spaghetti Monster.

    If Parliament wants to replace Easter Friday and Easter Sunday with Gobbledygook Day and I Love Superman Day – personally, I don’t care. As long as the net result stays the same on specifically observed Stat Hols (not individualised “floating hols).

    However, society may have a thing or two to say about “I Love Superman Day” instead of Easter Sunday, and I’m fine with that as well.

    “There’s a difference between ‘the lessons of history’ and ‘tradition’. Tradition is a value in and of itself, but where tradition is incompatible with modern sensibilities, it’s not failure to learn the lessons of history to change the tradition.

    So?

    Arre you saying that current public hols are a ‘tradition incompatible with modern sensibilities’?

    If so, why? What has drawn you to that conclusion?

    “Plurality is not majority, and even if it were, surely you’re not advocating tyranny of the majority? Talk about failing to learn the lessons of history!”

    Not at all. As I stated above, we need to look into stat hols for other religions as well.

    “Extrapolation is not the same as no statistics, Frank. But for the sake of argument, let’s just ASSUME that I’m right that roughly 46% of the population are Christian (or eventually will be). Why SHOULD their holy days be foisted on the majority who aren’t Christian?”

    See above.

    I see no reason to change them. Add to them – sure. That would be great.

    By the way, present religious stat hols number four days out of ten (plus regional stat hols). I notice you’re not addressing the non-religious stat hols?

  28. Devil's Advokat
    7 April 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Ah. Now we’re getting somewhere. You’re advocating that there should be no fewer super-holidays and stat hols than there are now. That’s very different from advocating for no change in the current holidays – in which THE LAW says Christian holy days are special.

    The problem then is that Christians do still want Easter as a special religious festival, and that’s fair enough. But so too might Maori want Matariki and Jews want Rosh Hashanah. Again, they can’t all be national super-holidays, and yet we want to allow people, and perhaps more importantly communities, to have their special observances. It seems to me that the best way to deal with holy days is to allow people to nominate their own.

    That would mean that Easter, and yes maybe even Christmas, would lose their special status. They might cease to be stat hols at all. But we would still have our national holidays – Waitangi Day, ANZAC Day, Queen’s Birthday, Labour Day, New Year – as public observances. Those days are genuinely community holidays with significance to New Zealanders. All New Zealanders, rather than Christians… or Maori, or pagans, or any other subset.

    And in that sense, yes, perhaps Easter is incompatible with modern sensibilities. Easter is a hold-over from the bad old days when the Christian church dictated how we lived our lives. You know, back when homosexuality was illegal and you couldn’t get a flat tyre fixed on Sunday.

  29. 7 April 2012 at 11:57 pm

    ‎”Ah. Now we’re getting somewhere. You’re advocating that there should be no fewer super-holidays and stat hols than there are now. That’s very different from advocating for no change in the current holidays – in which THE LAW says Christian holy days are special.”

    ???

    What?? I think you’re interpreting my comments in a way different to my intention. And what, pray tell, is a ‘super holiday’?? The term is ‘statutory holidays’ (stat hols). I don’t know where you get ‘super holidays’ from.

    “The problem then is that Christians do still want Easter as a special religious festival, and that’s fair enough. But so too might Maori want Matariki and Jews want Rosh Hashanah. Again, they can’t all be national super-holidays, and yet we want to allow people, and perhaps more importantly communities, to have their special observances. It seems to me that the best way to deal with holy days is to allow people to nominate their own.”

    No, that is not the best way. That is a de facto individualisation of stat hols. It totally undermines the rationale for holidays for families and community. In effect, we would not have national statutory holidays any more. Libertarians might cheer for that – but most (if not nearly all) New Zealanders would not go along with it. Which is a contradiction as many also like to shop on stat hols – but then the public are not always logical.

    “That would mean that Easter, and yes maybe even Christmas, would lose their special status. They might cease to be stat hols at all. But we would still have our national holidays – Waitangi Day, ANZAC Day, Queen’s Birthday, Labour Day, New Year – as public observances. Those days are genuinely community holidays with significance to New Zealanders. All New Zealanders, rather than Christians… or Maori, or pagans, or any other subset.”

    Again, no. You have presented no justification for any such radical change.

    Adding stat hols for Maori, Jews, Muslims, etc, is one thing. Removing other peoples’ stat hols to create some mythical ‘equality’ is another entirely. Sorry, Advokat, you’ll have to do better than that.

    “And in that sense, yes, perhaps Easter is incompatible with modern sensibilities. Easter is a hold-over from the bad old days when the Christian church dictated how we lived our lives. You know, back when homosexuality was illegal and you couldn’t get a flat tyre fixed on Sunday.”

    In your opinion.

    Others would have a different point of view. And I’m not sure why you’re attempting to link homosexuality and flat tyres with Easter. (I understand the issue in terms of Christianity – which also exists in Judaism and Islam.) I think your linking of those issuesis somewhat unfair.

    (Bizarre – here I am defending a religious holiday when I haven’t a religious molecule in my body.)

  30. Devil's Advokat
    8 April 2012 at 12:05 am

    I’m not disputing that people should have the same number of holidays. I’m not disputing that national holidays should stay national holidays. What I am saying is that if we are to have religious observances it is unreasonable that Christian observances are enshrined in law, while other holy days have no status whatsoever.

    It is about equality, and I am shocked that you should dismiss such a fundamental principle so lightly.

    And no, we can’t make them all stat hols. Do you have any idea how many religions there are? Let alone religious holy days? Nothing would ever get done!

    So as I see it we have two options. Either we allow people to nominate their own holy days, or we stop observing holy days altogether and adopt some new secular nationalist holidays in their place.

    I don’t think the Christians would like to be told that they have to take Easter out of annual leave, so given that they are still a significant segment of the community, I suspect the only workable solution is personal nomination of sacred days.

  31. 8 April 2012 at 12:17 am

    “I’m not disputing that people should have the same number of holidays. I’m not disputing that national holidays should stay national holidays. What I am saying is that if we are to have religious observances it is unreasonable that Christian observances are enshrined in law, while other holy days have no status whatsoever. It is about equality, and I am shocked that you should dismiss such a fundamental principle so lightly.”

    I’m puzzled why you appear ‘shocked’. I’ve stated my position with crystal clarity.

    “And no, we can’t make them all stat hols. Do you have any idea how many religions there are? Let alone religious holy days? Nothing would ever get done!”

    I think you’re being overly dramatic. No one is stating that ‘every religious holy days’ should be implemented. You are. This is something that can be resolved with debate and with careful consideration.

    One thing I have heard is that some folk who are not Christian, and hold other religious beliefs, still appreciate Christmas Day as their family day. So that aspect of things is by no means black-and-white.

    “So as I see it we have two options. Either we allow people to nominate their own holy days, or we stop observing holy days altogether and adopt some new secular nationalist holidays in their place.”

    No, there are other options. We simply haven’t heard them all.

    “I don’t think the Christians would like to be told that they have to take Easter out of annual leave, so given that they are still a significant segment of the community, I suspect the only workable solution is personal nomination of sacred days.”

    Again, I don’t believe most people would go for that. I certainly wouldn’t support it for the reasons I’ve already stated. Ending up with ten days added to our four weeks Annual Leave is not the same as national holidays.

    What day would you like to commemorate ANZAC Day? Does August 17 work for you? I’m picking June 6th.

    And on that note, I’ve finished another blog post on the population of Planet Earth, and I’m off to bed. Early day tomorrow/today/Sunday.

    Interesting ideas. I don’t agree with all of them – but that’s whay made it interesting.

    G’night!

  32. Priss
    8 April 2012 at 10:07 am

    Advokat – I think your in dreamland. If you want to give away your holidays, you knock yourself out. I happen to like our holidays and I like the family time we have. Giving everyone their own choice of holidays isn’t a choice at all and employers will end up dictating when we get time off. You try having a boss who tells you to take your leave and days in liue in winter time because summer is her peak time for buisiness and tell me how you like it.

  33. Brian
    8 April 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Devil’s Advokat – you got it.

    As a business owners I can’t have staff taking bloody days off around christmas and new year. That’s my peak customer time. Having flexible holidays would be great and my staff can take time off when it won’t affect my business. That may sound tough to some but I’m here to make money and not be a social service. My workers can take their holidays later in autumn and my customers needs are met. It’s business and we better get used to it.

    Personally I’d scrap the whole bloody lot.

  34. Priss
    8 April 2012 at 12:57 pm

    All I can say is that I’m glad I don’t work for you Brian. No way am I taking holidays in autumn or winter.

    Screw that. I don’t even think it;’s legal for you to force your staff to take leave when you want them to.

    The more I think about it the more I think Devil’s Adocat’s idea is crap. Like, who can plan ahead to plan for get-togethers if every is taking holidays all over the place. How will that affect convention centres if they’re no longer having long weekends to cater for? So many conferences rely on long weekends. It’s crazy. I can’t think of a single upside to Advocat’s ideas.

  35. Theodore
    8 April 2012 at 2:26 pm

    How’s your ACT party going Devils Advokate? I guess being at 1.5% in the polls must tell you what New Zealanders think of giving away their stat holidays?

    Brian – I’m damned sure you’ll find that what you’re doing is illegal. Or borderline at best. It’s a shame you don’t let on which business you run so I can ask the Dept of Labour to call on you.

  36. Brian
    8 April 2012 at 3:56 pm

    that’s ok I wouldn’t hire you either. [Offensive commented deleted]

    [Watch personal comments, please. Refer to Posting Rules here.]

  37. Deborah Kean
    8 April 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I am lazy, so I am going to re-post what I just said on Darien Fenton’s thread about this on Facebook (with some additions): “Fair enough too! Because we live in a secular, pluralistic society, the issue is *not* religious holidays, but workers’ rights. People like my son and his fellow health professionals accept working when others are not, they know that going in. But nothing else needs to be open! It’s been fewer than 30 years since Saturday shopping came along (it was only a half day then) and look at us now? Dumb clucks like a certain ex-model on commercial radio and others like her, moan that she wants to shop on public holidays, and she doesn’t seem to get that her shopping and girly pampering is at the expense of her fellow women, who have to cater to her whims for a pitiful retail wage, and she doesn’t give a toss! To her, it’s all a whine about religion. To me, it’s about class. Women like her and men like the garden gnome in the news the other night, don ‎’t have anyone telling them they don’t need any rest, or that their families can do without them…It’s not a religious issue – we Christians don’t say you have to observe Easter – and I assure you Devil’s Advokat that to me it’s infinitely more than chocolate eggs! Don’t blame us – you can be as libertarian as you like – but as I’ve said, it’s a workers’ rights issue.
    Deb

  38. Deborah Kean
    8 April 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Devil’s Advokat :
    As for community, you’ve completely evaded my point. At present Christians dictate when everybody has their holidays. Why should we all be forced to take Christian holy days off? If a family wants to celebrate together they should be able to all nominate the same days as sacred. But why should the Maori and Jewish and Muslim and Hindu families have to treat Christian holy days as sacred? Why shouldn’t Maori communities and Sikh communities and Buddhst communities get to strengthen themselves on their own holy days?
    What makes Christianity so special?

    IMO, it is special! 😀 But you’re using your dislike of Christianity to hammer working people and that’s not acceptable.
    Frank’s right, it’s all about community. My son’s a nurse, and while he accepts the necesssity of working when others are holidaying, he doesn’t like having days off on his own – or with only his colleagues, and everyone else he knows is working…
    Deb

  39. Deborah Kean
    8 April 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Devil’s Advokat :
    ANZAC Day, Queen’s Birthday, Labour Day, New Year – as public observances. Those days are genuinely community holidays with significance to New Zealanders.
    Speak for yourself! Truly, ANZAC Day means less than nothing to me, in fact as a pacifist, I despise it.

    Devil’s Advokat :You know, back when homosexuality was illegal and you couldn’t get a flat tyre fixed on Sunday.

    Er – can’t you fix a flat tyre? It’s not as if it is difficult! 😀
    People who claim that ‘the Church’ is (or once did) tell everyone what to do. make me laugh and cry. That was never true – believe me, if it ever was, I’d have known – my atheist parents would have said so at great length!

  40. Priss
    8 April 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Well said, Deborah. You put it so well.

    Brian – I read what you put before Frank deleted it. I wonder if you talk to your customers like that?

  1. 7 May 2014 at 8:01 am

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