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New Zealand Rules-Out Land Wars Public Holiday

Source: Radio New Zealand News (Wellington)
Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Following last Friday's announcement that a date was likely to be set to commemorate the New Zealand land wars, New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, earlier today, issued a statement that "a public holiday isn't on the agenda" echoed by a similar statement by New Zealand's Deputy PM, Bill English, also ruling-out the addition of a new annual non-working public holiday in New Zealand ("The Land Wars commemoration day will not be a public holiday").

Two years ago (2014-08-20), then and now New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, had announced that he would consider declaring a new annual non-working public holiday in New Zealand, to mark the historic Maori land wars, if his party was still in government after the 2014 September elections (which he did win).

The issue more or less stayed dormant until, early this year (2016-01-11), when a petition calling for a new annual non-working public holiday in New Zealand to mark the New Zealand Land Wars, gathered 7000 signatures, leading New Zealand's Minister of Maori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell, to re-ignite the debate at last January's commemorations for Ruapekapeka Pa.

It seems that promising to declare a new public holiday, if one is re-elected, has become a staple of New Zealand national politics. Three years ago (2011-01-28), then leader of New Zealand's Labour Party, Phil Goff, had announced that his party would introduce a bill to ensure that if the Waitangi Day and Anzac Day public holidays fall on either a Saturday or Sunday, then the following Monday would be a public holiday.

The New Zealand Labour Party lost the election, but in a freak twist of fate, less than a year later (2012-02-08), a similar private members bill (the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill) was presented by Labour Dunedin North MP David Clark and was drawn from the member's bill ballot and introduced to New Zealand's Parliament, where it eventually was passed (2013-04-17).

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