“Creating a new public holiday on a whim is causing chaos amongst businesses, our health system and schools. We need a way to recognise the Queen’s passing without making life harder for Kiwis,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The simple question is this: Is it possible to honour our late Queen for her extraordinary service, without putting more costs and disruption on New Zealanders. ACT says the answer is yes.

“Having a day to pay tribute to such an incredible leader is only fair, but the business should not have to pay the cost, our health system shouldn’t grind to a halt and schools should be free to choose how they recognise it.

“When the Government introduces legislation to Parliament next week, it should say that there is a public holiday, and workers have the right to take a day of annual or unpaid leave. If people are not willing to take a day of annual or unpaid leave, that is their choice.

“There would be nothing stopping people from taking annual leave or unpaid leave if they wish to take a day off to recognise the Queen. Equally, if they would rather continue working they can do so without imposing extra costs on employers.

“The legislation should say that Principals can choose to close their school if they choose. I am sure some will, but many I speak to are focused on attendance and catching up on learning lost during Covid.

“It’s not just business who will suffer, one person who wrote to AM yesterday said while he was a royalist, both he and his wife are independent contractors and can’t afford to lose a day of wages.

“Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners president Dr Samantha Murton has said a public holiday will create more disruption for our strained health system. There are approximately 7,500 patients who have been waiting more than a year for surgery, while between August 15 2021 and June 26 2022 13,410 operations were cancelled. This holiday means even more Kiwis will have their long-awaited surgeries cancelled.

“Principals are telling me the timing couldn’t be worse either. Kids have already had too much time off school through Covid and now they’re being told to stay home one week before holidays. This timing is purely to accommodate our Prime Minister returning from her overseas trips. As our truancy rates are showing, kids don’t need any more encouragement to not show up for school.

“New Zealanders are feeling the loss of the Queen, she was a true leader who selflessly served the commonwealth every day of her life. The Government should be asking itself, though, is it fair to put another $450 million of costs onto business in the middle of a cost of living crisis?

“The Queen deserves to be remembered fondly for her selfless and tireless service. This is a way of showing respect for her legacy while also respecting Kiwis who will suffer because of another public holiday.”

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David Seymour