New Zealand Matariki Public Holiday Decision Postponed
Source:Radio New Zealand News (Wellington)
Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Updated: Thursday, November 26, 2020
A spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand has announced that the declaration of a new annual Matariki public holiday was not on the short-term government agenda, and could not give more details as to when work would begin to create the holiday ("At the moment we are focused on forming the next government, but Labour is committed to making Matariki a public holiday from 2022 to give businesses time to prepare and recover from Covid").
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Ardern announced that she was considering amending the Holidays Act 2003 and adding new public holidays "for Kiwis to come and experience their own backyard". This statement immediately lead to calls that that new public holiday be Matariki (2009-06-17, 2009-06-23 and 2009-07-25), and, indeed, during the recent electoral campaign that, if her Labour Party was re-elected, it would make declare Matariki as a new annual public holiday in New Zealand (2020-09-06).
The quoted spokesperson did confirm that the Matariki date would be difficult to define and that the new public holiday would adjoin a weekend ("As per the policy announcement during the campaign, a group of experts would help determine an exact date in that year for the winter holiday to take place, but we expect it will always fall on a Monday or a Friday within Matariki").
This would be the first new public holiday in New Zealand since 1973, when the Labour Government of Prime Minister, Norman Kirk, made Waitangi Day a new annual public holiday in New Zealand, although a 2013 bill Mondayizing the Waitangi Day and Anzac Day public holidays, the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill (2013-04-17, 2013-03-13, 2013-02-19, 2012-09-14, 2012-07-25, 2012-07-17, 2012-02-08, 2011-10-18, 2011-01-28), has effectively added 3 additional Monday public holidays ever since it became effective.
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