National Party leader Christopher Luxon (pictured) has shown once again how out of touch he is with the experience of workers in New Zealand with his suggestion that Labour Day should be removed as a public holiday, says CTU Director of Policy Craig Renney.
Speaking on Morning Report, Luxon said: “Matariki might be a great idea but it will cost the country $450 million so another holiday such as Labour Day should be cancelled.”
Renney says: “New Zealanders already work longer hours than the OECD average – equivalent to 15 extra days at work each year. We already have fewer public holidays than many other OECD countries.
“Labour Day commemorates the struggle for an eight-hour working day, won in New Zealand in 1840. It was first celebrated in 1890. It’s not surprising that National wants to get rid of a long-standing public holiday that celebrates workers’ rights.
“It shows how little National thinks of the daily struggles of Kiwi workers. It would also leave workers with no public holiday in the six months between June and Christmas.
“The addition of Matariki has been supported by workers and businesses around the country – it honours our unique culture, it will provide a boost for small businesses and tourist operators as people get out and about spending money, and it will give Kiwi workers a well deserved day off.
“Cancelling Labour day is a petty, out of touch idea that should be abandoned,” says Craig Renney.