Tourism boss Snedden backs Labour's Monday bill
Annual labour costs to employers could balloon out by $400 million twice in the next 20 years if Labour’s Monday holiday bill is passed into law.
Dunedin north MP Dr David Clark’s private members bill to ‘monday-ise’ Anzac and Waitangi Day has reached select committee stage.
He wants to have both public holidays transferred to a Monday when they fall on a weekend – which happens, on average, two out of every seven years.
A handful of people made submissions to the committee late last week, including Tourism Industry Association chief executive Martin Snedden, who has supported the bill.
Mr Snedden threw his support behind it in submissions, arguing it would provide a boon for domestic tourism, and particularly regional economies.
He acknowledged extra costs for some tourism operators but said in many circumstances extra visitors and trade during the long weekend would offset the cost.
Mr Snedden says the $200 million cost estimates do not consider the benefits.
“The economic benefits accrue not only to the domestic tourism industry but to other sectors such as retail and hospitality, while there are also potential productivity gains from the benefits of rested employees.”
But figures released under the official information act by the Department of Labour and published on the parliamentary website show the costs to employers could run into the millions in the years where the holiday needs to be transferred.
According to the calculations, Anzac and Waitangi Days fall on a weekend twice between 2015 and 2028 – meaning an increased cost to employers of $407 million.
On another six occasions, either one or the other holiday will need to be transferred, meaning an annual cost of more than $200 million.
In its papers, the department says the main benefits of the bill will be "increased leisure" for families and individuals, and a potential boost in local tourism. However, it could not calculate the monetary benefit of increased leisure.
Dr Clark says those costs are likely to be overstated and when the figures are spread over the full seven-year cycle, the costs are likely to be negligible.
He told NBR ONLINE most small businesses he has spoken to are in support of the bill, while opinion is more mixed among big business.
“Although many admit they wouldn’t ‘die in a ditch’ over it,” Dr Clark says.