“Creating a new public holiday on a whim is causing chaos amongst businesses, our health system and schools, what’s worse, we’re behind the world again after waiting two weeks for Jacinda Ardern to get home from New York,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“This public holiday is estimated by MBIE to cost $450m, while it is also adding more pressure to New Zealand’s overburdened health system. The Te Whatu Ora district director for Wairarapa said there will be 488 disruptions to appointments and surgeries in Wairarapa alone due to the holiday. Tens of thousands of Kiwis across the country are going to miss out because of it.

“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.

“New Zealanders are feeling the loss of the Queen, she was a true leader who selflessly served the commonwealth every day of her life. But who thought having a day off at enormous cost to children and patients was the right way to honour a woman who worked all her life?

“As is the norm for Jacinda Ardern’s Government, we’re behind the rest of the world in even holding the holiday. Australia’s day of remembrance is taking place on Thursday 22 September, just a few days after the funeral. In New Zealand we’re waiting an entire week because Jacinda Ardern wants to be back from her overseas trip for it.

“Having a day to pay tribute to such an incredible leader is only fair, but businesses 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. It should also be within an appropriate timeframe of the event we’re commemorating, not on the first day that suits Ardern’s schedule.

“It is possible to do it right. Labour could introduce legislation to Parliament that says 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 to recognise the Queen, that is their choice.

“While ACT respects the Queen, we also respect business owners and acknowledge that our economy simply can’t afford to take another $450 million hit, and that Kiwis shouldn’t miss out on education and healthcare. That’s not what Her Majesty would have wanted.”

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David Seymour