Opposition support enough to pass the 'Mondayisation' bill

National's decision not to veto Labour's bill should give it clear passage through today's second reading.

National’s decision not to veto Labour’s ‘Mondayisation’ bill should give it clear passage through today’s second reading.

SwarbrickBeckMcKinnon employment lawyer Kathryn Beck says finance minister Bill English cleared the way for parliamentary support when he confirmed the government would not use the financial veto to stymie the legislation.

“Even at select committee stage you might now see National MPs taking a step back and we might get some very constructive debate around it," she says.

National still will not support Dunedin North MP David Clark’s bill, but acknowledges there is enough political support for it.

The bill would see the Anzac and Waitangi day holidays transferred to a Monday if they fall on a weekend.

Last year Mr English said the financial veto would be used because of the economic cost of the bill.

A financial veto can be used by the government if any private member's bill is likely to significantly affect the budget.

Department of Labour advice shows the annual cost when one holiday falls on a weekend is $203.6 million, while it would cost $407.2 million if two holidays fell on a weekend in the same year.

“It does largely affect private business but it also affects the government to the extent it has a lot of employees. However, the cost is not significant,” Mr English says.

But Ms Beck suspects the reason for the u-turn is the level of public support for the bill.

She says there will be an additional cost to productivity, given two in every seven years employers will have to pay staff for a public holiday.

However, she says the holidays will be structured in the same way other Monday holidays are, so she expects the process to be the same and logistical costs to be kept to a minimum.

Dr Clark says National should vote for the legislation.

The bill passed its first vote in July by 61 votes to 60 when United Future’s Peter Dunne went against the government to support it.

bcunningham@nbr.co.nz

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