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Labour campaigns on making Matariki the country's 12th public holiday from 2022

Labour campaigns on making Matariki the country's 12th public holiday from 2022

The Labour Party is campaigning on making Matariki a public holiday from 2022.

Matariki signals the Māori New Year. It's a star cluster that appears in mid-winter. 

Labour said it would get experts to help determine an exact date for the holiday, but expected it would always fall on a Monday or a Friday within Matariki.

Here's a press release from the party:

The Labour Party is backing New Zealanders’ calls for Matariki to become New Zealand’s 12th public holiday.

Matariki heralds the start of the Māori New Year and has now become a time of celebration not just for Māori but for many New Zealanders across Aotearoa.

“As I’ve travelled around New Zealand I’ve heard the calls for Matariki to become a public holiday – it’s time has come. It will also be a confidence boost that many sectors need right now,” Labour Party Leader Jacinda Ardern said.

“Matariki will be a distinctly New Zealand holiday and a time for reflection, celebration and to look to the future as we take increasing pride in our unique national identity.

“We don’t have many statutory holidays compared to other OECD countries and it would be good to break up the long run through winter,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Deputy Labour Leader Kelvin Davis said he was proud of the Government’s track record this term of elevating the status of our history and Māori culture.

“Making New Zealand history compulsory in schools, support for land wars commemoration and unveiling a statue to acknowledge Dame Whina Cooper have all helped to give a voice to a history, people and culture,” Kelvin Davis said.

“A new holiday will help out our domestic tourism and hospitality sector as New Zealanders plan mid-winter getaways and will also allow the tourism industry to market Matariki globally to international travellers as a uniquely New Zealand winter experience in years to come.

“Celebrating Matariki every year will give Māori a chance to share our unique traditions, our history and our stories with the rest of New Zealand. Matariki means many things to many people – but for me it will always be a day where I will reflect on how far we have come as a country and be proud.

“None of our current public holidays recognise Māori culture and tradition. Making Matariki a public holiday is another step forward in our partnership as a people and a further recognition of te ao Māori in our public life.

“It is important to acknowledge that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on businesses and public holidays can create additional costs, which is why it wouldn’t come into force until 2022.

“We will work with Matariki experts to design and determine the appropriate dates for the public holiday, but we expect it will always fall on a Monday or a Friday,” Kelvin Davis said.

New Zealand has 11 public holidays, counting regional anniversaries as one. Of the OECD countries, we are in the low-to-middle range for public holidays – with 18 countries having more than us, and 12 fewer.

The last public holiday introduced was Waitangi Day nearly 50 years ago.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association responded:

The EMA says the Government’s announcement today of an extra public holiday for Matariki from 2022 is unlikely to find favour with its business members.

Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says it will be seen as another cost to business and is unlikely to support increased tourism, which was the original argument for an extra public holiday during COVID-19 Alert Levels 1 and 2.

Mr O’Riley says the Government priority should be focused on fixing the dysfunctional Holidays Act.

"We need to see a simplified and streamlined process for calculating entitlements and creating efficiencies for business."

"We understand the cultural argument about Matariki being considered important enough for a public holiday, but it could have been exchanged with one of the other public holidays," he says.


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Cool stuff. Voting Labour.

Not quite as good as the previous Labour party's one extra week bribe but a vote winner all the same.
I don't seem to remember business collapsing from the extra week as we were told they would...

Nat voters love to jump into conclusion really quick about everything that doesn't involve tax cuts. Just look at how many landlords have sold their rentals due to the healthy homes standards...

hardly any ever sell, they like to jump up and down but when it comes down to it they have nowhere else to invest so they stick with it


"Oh dear, I have to spend a tiny percentage of the hundreds of thousands of dollars I made in tax free capital gain on a heat pump. All to save the state billions of dollars in health bills. Communist bastards!"


It's pathetic isn't it.

Have you guys seen how bad the Council and Govt houses are? They are shocking but you are picking in the private owner.

But they've already allocated billions to improving them without shrieking to the degree we've heard emanating from the Church of Ashley.

"Just look at how many landlords have sold their rentals due to the healthy homes standards..."
Where did you get this information or is just conspiracy theory?
You need to give reference to your source or it is just seemingly baseless comments - you risk lacking credibility.
And . . . oh yeah; who bought these rentals - other landlords??

I'm afraid you failed to understand my comment.

yes, I remember well, how employers said there would doom and gloom, it did not happen, even some communist countries had better holiday entitlements. The USA is the worst, there is no legislation for annual leave. Wall st

I'm for this too - although not sure it'd make me vote Labour. However I think we should then remove Queen's Birthday, Christmas, New Year, Easter, Labour Day, Provincial Days (leave Waitangi and ANZAC only). Replace those public holidays with another week of annual leave and give employers/employees freedom to choose to work or holiday when it suits them. Would spread local tourism demand and lower the road toll too.

The only thing wrong with that is there are few days that you can pretty much guarantee all of your extended family have the day off for a larger gathering. Having them scattered all over the place would make for a pretty crappy celebration time imho. It is quite nice having a few days that you know you can all get together

That is also extreme. The idea of a mid winter holiday has better appeal.


And if we needed anymore proof that Labour has their heads in the stars while global turmoil rains down, here we have it.


Yep, just a cheap headline grabbing policy at the expense of business and no cost to Labour like normal.
Someone pays the bill for this and its not Labour.

I don't know about that, people genuinely care about holidays, work life balance, etc. Surely an economy that is progressing and getting bigger should be able to afford more holiday time. If were up to National and the business community we would still only have 3 weeks leave per year. And I doubt anyone would be any better off, maybe a handful at the top.

Clearly you don't own a business, have you not seen what has happened to the economy recently ?
If your a sole trader this costs you NO ONE ELSE.

I agree with having a public holiday for matariki, however I think the timing is abysmal, really tone deaf when so many businesses are struggling.

In a time when many have little faith in Labour and they are stalling with their intentions of what they plan to do in their next term, this announcement speaks volumes. THEY HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE.
This is a 'let them eat cake' call.

when do you suggest they announce this? it wouldnt be implemented till 2022

Not right before an election

You overlooked the fact that it isn’t going to happen until 2022.

If it was National, we would only have 2 weeks, the 3rd week was given by the Kirk Labour government 1972, many people have forgotten this, Australia has had 4 weeks for many years.

Maybe National can help out by getting rid of breaks for working folk. Something nice like that.


More nails in businesses coffins.


Depends on which businesses. Would probably help hospo?

Yeah, tourism and hospitality industry spokesperson have been calling on the government for an extra public holiday since May.

If they survive as with wage subsidies comming to an end, many employees may go for 12 weeks income relief package to survive (another 12 weeks) and if hospitality and travel industry does not revive by than (doubtfull) - many businesses will shut down.

Your retail shop will benefit from this, you should be happy. ;)


If your business can't handle one extra holiday per year then it's doomed to fail anyway.

"just one more - Ok? "

It’s often the accumulated little things that eat away at prosperity that reduces the ability to survive larger impacts... but it’s probably not your concern eh..

There's money in nails and coffins, ask Damien Grant.


More bribes.
Having said that, I always thought there was a good case for this.

This is a win win for all, particularly the people. One more long weekend, what is not to like ?

Is this Labours first policy announcement?

Labour launched its campaign before Auckland went into Level 3, with a $311m commitment to expand an existing subsidy paid to businesses that employ people at risk of long-term unemployment.

We can expect more policy announcements this week. 

There has been a great deal of comment on site here concerning the tax implications, over the next few years, due to CV19 and its repercussions on the economy. There has been mooted, land tax, CGT, wealth tax, death duties, asset taxes and on.This cannot but be unsettling to the electorate given the uncertain present and future for everyone. National has declared the status quo will remain, so assumedly, that explains their policy. However as the incumbent, and favoured to remain in government, Labour has given the electorate no indication of their forthcoming tax policy. It would be an abuse of power and the height of arrogance, for Labour to straddle an electorate already nervous about their individual circumstances, with tax amendments and/or introductions, only six weeks out from an election. Last election, Labour had to undergo an abrupt eleventh hour back down when the electorate got wind of their tax intentions. This time looks like they intend to leave it until after the election because they think they can.

Its easy to declare status quo, because the Nats have no chance of winning .

This would make sense if this expense results in net saving (or offsets jobseeker payments to a great extent) to the taxpayer by getting those at-risk people off unemployment.

I see this being the biggest difference of this policy vs National's 10k for each person employed.

national 10k per person was so open to rorting, it has not been well thought out and apart from those businesses that already run employment scams that would see another 10 k added to income, this would open the door for others to join in

Giving money to mates is okay, giving a holiday to all is not okay ?

More zombification of commerce
This is the main problem with Western political-economies not allowing markets to reset through failure.

First they thought of themselves - maybe, the other above is magpie policy, taken from others.

Magpie behaviour, is PM & Labour's thing.

It’s no coincidence that Ardern’s opening speech at the United Nations climate summit in September, closely echoed his views. The world faces a “stark” situation she said, urging those listening that with the necessary changes, progress was “within our grasp.”

“I wrote a lot of it,” Shaw says.<\b>

First, one and only. I am cool with it, than the empty promises all the parties usually make at the time of elections.

I'd vote for the Labour if Chinese new year is mandated.

I see red, I see red..

红包? is that what you saw?

Unrestricted warfare being pushed (cough)

Good on ya, mate. Shi Shi.

Should replace queens birthday , instead of been an extra day.

Tend to agree with that, but it won’t happen.

Is this a Labour dead cat?
How about some policy for important stuff like tax policy, economic recovery etc. But there is a dead cat on the table.
Everyone likes a holiday, but I think timing is poor.

Isn't the star cluster on the Subaru badge?

Matariki is a star cluster which appears in the early morning sky in New Zealand during the mid-winter months.

The star cluster is well known throughout the world and at different times of the year can be seen around the globe. It is one of the brightest clusters in the sky, containing hundreds of member stars.

Matariki has different names around the world. In English, it is called by its ancient Greek name, Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. In Hawaiian it is Makali’i, ‘eyes of royalty’, and in Japan it is Subaru, meaning ‘gathered together’.

Historically, these stars were closely tied to planting, harvesting and hunting. If the stars appeared clear and bright, it signified an abundant season ahead.

Answer yes.

The term “Subaru” is also the Japanese name for a cluster of stars in the Taurus constellation, known to many by the name “Pleiades.” These stars are also known as Messier 45 or “The Seven Sisters,” because according to Greek mythology, they were once Atlas’ daughters: Alcyone, Asterope, Merope, Maia, Taygeta, Celaeno, and Electra.

Surely you’re already wondering, why are there only six stars in Subaru’s logo if it’s named after a constellation of seven daughters? The reason is to the naked eye, the cluster of stars appears to only have six stars–two are so close together, they appear as one big star. Thus, the Pleiades constellation is known for being a “unification of the stars.”

It is called 'Saptharishi' in Sanskrit, in India. Meaning Seven Sages of the Hindu Mythology.

Who would have first used it?

Sanskrit is one of the very ancient languages, right ?
But because it is related to astronomy, many civilisations might have noticed and named it at the same time period.
If you follow the path of the Sun and Moon and Stars then, the first group would have been the Pacific Islanders, if there were any inhabitants there.
If you go by the origin of humans on this earth, the first would have been the people in Africa, then Europe and the Middle East equally.
If you have go by who recorded it first, then it is a toss up.
Take your pick.


This is low hanging fruit. Now tell us your policies towards China, our massive sovereign debt issue, national security, immigration etc.


Oh for goodness sake. Another stat holiday only matters to the salaried - not to the self-employed, not to the unemployed and not to those in the casual/contract gig economy.

Can some political party please start addressing the real problems we face!

Politicians once again desperate to make headlines instead of change. Im not angry, just disappointed

I agree, but what percentage of the working force are salaried? I suspect the majority which is why this announcement will be popular.

The unofficial word around the traps in the capital is MSD have an adjusted forecast of 300-500k unemployed in the near term once the subsidies are gone. So I guess that's an indicator.

i dont see labour bringing out much policy as national have no big game changing policy to roll out. all they are rolling out is same old same old, build some roads bring in heaps of people, sell all our assets to offshore investors.
i did the compass survey today turns out i am most aligned with top policies but why would i vote for them as they will never make parliament with 5%

Exactly. Labour only has potential to go backwards by announcing bold policy. It's always the same for incumbents who are way out in front.
There is much more Onus on National to:
- prosecute the government on why doing nothing is not sustainable
- provide bold policy alternatives

I'm thinking along the same lines sharetrader but I guess we need to bite the bullet if we ever want to see meaningful change on the big issues in this country.

Same here. Labour will likely be in power regardless, so you might as well vote with your heart this election, and less with strategy? I plan to, even if it is a wasted vote. We might be surprised by TOP given that Greens and NZF keep damaging their own chances.

Big bloody deal!
When are we going to get a tax policy of any radicality
Won’t hold my breath

We won't. See my comment just above yours.
This is the game of politics. It's the dull battle for the middle.

If they call what they intend to do, we will pull them on their failings. This way they can do what they want, not measure it and still not be held accountable.

Key pulled out the flag as a non-critical distraction.
Same old same old.

He spent how much on that ? This is a free stuff, mate.

It's not free for the people who are paying the wages.

The tax payers paid for the flag fiasco. Was that okay ? National should have paid for that.

Most of the cost was on referendums, which you are going to need to have unless you want the flag changed by prime ministerial decree. Say what you want about the shitty options but we were always going to incur the costs of at least two referenda.

Wage bill wont change- if you're employee is having a day off, this costs you nothing more

Kinda costs you a day of production...

There is no proof of that though, just because you dont have someone sitting a computer, station, driving a truck or whatever for an extra 8 hours a year doest mean they will be more productive come years end and doesnt mean that a business will be more profitable at the end of the year.

Research has overwhelmingly shown that rested, happy employees are way more productive. The whole mantra of more hours = more productively is long debunked and very outdated thinking. If that was the case why not just make everyone work 50 hour weeks.

So when businesses pay overtime for every hour after 40 aren't gaining any economic benefit? Maybe if we worked 0 hours we would have the same production as 40 hours by that theory, no?

How many businesses actually pay overtime these days though? I dont get it, i dont know anyone that does asides from a mate of mine that works for a utility company. Time in Lieu is not overtime.

If you take a look at the research that was undertaken by Perpetual Guardian who gave their staff the option to go to 32 hour weeks, both productivity and profitability went up.

But hey - please show me research to support your point of working more hours out of people.

What, there are heaps? Nearly the entire trucking industry? And besides, I never said anything about productivity, I said production as in total output. Having an extra day off certainly does not increase total production.

AWERSOME!! And if you are parsimonious about it, we can ditch Queen's Birthday weekend, it's not even her birthday and they don't even have one in England.
This is the time for the fireworks, public display only, get rid of Guy Fawkes and private sales of them, November is the time that birds nest, why the hell are we happy to blast them out of the trees at that time?

At least we have a Queen. I'd say the 8 hour day has less relevance these days than Queen's Birthday, so ditch Labour day instead.

Not going to have one for a hell of a lot longer, can wait till then, then ditch it. It won't be the new King's birthday either. And as I said, they don't even have one in England, even they don't see it as necessary and she bloody lives there.
Labour Day, if we bothered to see why it exists is far more important, than the non birthday of the Queen, even we are forgetting why it is there. It won't be long before the importance of it becomes relevant again.
It usually rains on QB, Labour introduces summer, if you don't to acknowledge the meaning of Labour Day.

Why ditch it? We'd forsake our sovereign and all the history of the Crown in NZ that comes with them as 'irrelevant' but have a public holiday that celebrates a working arrangement that effectively no longer exists anymore? But you want to look through to the history of that, right - just not acknowledge the history of the Crown? Madness.

The madness is that it is not even her birthday, for crying down the drain. It is utterly pointless, especially seeing the country she lives in sees no reason for such a weekend.
And that is coming from someone who actually supports a constitutional monarchy, as it happens, for the stability offered. I just do not think a random non existent birthday is any kind of acknowledgment or demonstrates any respect for it.
Leave the summer introductory one, it is generally far more appreciated than QB. I know which weekend was busier in the accommodation and hospo industry is/was from personal experience.

I guess given our problems with working long hours for low wages, celebrating Labour weekend is equally irrelevant in this day and age. Frankly I'd argue the increase to four weeks of annual leave is a more significant and relevant event, except the Holidays Act itself has proven to be an absolute dog so it would never fly.

If I was Labour I would amend their free first year of tertiary education policy. It was dumb anyway, but even dumber politically. Make final year free and you have bribed a whole lot of year 1-3 tertiary students. The current policy only bribes year 13 students.

And year 13 students often can't vote!

What they should've done instead is made a 6% matching student loan contribution for incomes up to the average wage, similar to the employer matching for kiwisaver.

That acts like a 6% tax cut for earnings between $20k and ~$51k for anyone with a student loan, which is a huge slice of the population.

I dont know - there is still time for a policy for over 16's to be given the vote.

The difference between a communist and a capitalist used to be $10,000, now it's a Maori Day Off.


The difference between a racist and a bigot used to be ignorance, now it's... ah no, it's the same.

Touche JP.

A sign of an idiot used to be shouting "FIRE!" now it is shouting "RACIST!".

This is actually a labour tax policy. It is a tax on businesses

Bit of a stretch. I own and run a business and I'm all for it.

Well overdue initiative.

Really! What’s it going to achieve? NZ is firmly rooted in lowest productivity index in developed nations and you think having more holidays is taking the initiative!

Agreed. Let's ditch Queens Birthday when she passes as I would prefer to work than celebrate any of the remaining rabble having a birthday.

Thats got more to do with Traffic Trucks than holidays. You want to raise productivity ? Rationalise H and S, it is out of control.

This better not be like their CGT promise, and their Kiwibuild promise, and their............

Only promise stuff that others organise and pay for.
I can't wait to watch Labour in the next term, it is going to a comedy show.

Poor old Cindy. Is this the best she can do? A new public holiday to cheer us all up. What P.R. pillock thought this one up? What about some Economic policy? Some Foreign Affairs policy? Some Social policy? This is right up there with bread and circuses for the masses. Auntie Judith will have a field day with this....... except that we all suspect that her advisorial clowns are no better.

Yeah we're still waiting for all those policies from Ms Collins too. Or at least Policies that they don't go back on a month later. Its hard to know what they stand for.

Yeah, sounds kool - Matariki us!

Shame this seems to be Labour's only policy though.

Nero fiddled

This is a great idea and wont put us out of step with our main international trading countries.

I think the notion that you have to be at work 40+ hours a week - more hours = more productivity has been widely debunked.

Overwhelmingly it has been proven that well rested and happy employees will be more productive. Not only this but the benefits will mean additional spending in the form of domestic tourism, entertainment, events, retail and hospitality. The exact businesses that are doing it most tough right now.

I expect the costs for this will be minimal and will really only fall on those businesses that have to remain open and for them they have two years to factor this in to their planning. Everyone else will benefit from their employees being rested, having time to spend with their family and friends and coming back to work refreshed in an otherwise time of many months when there are no holidays.

Even National have not come out squarely against it.

They may be more productive per hour they work but total production will fall.

As mentioned in my comment above - there is no proof of this.

So your telling me that every hour over 40 hours produces no additional units of output?

I support Matariki becoming a public holiday, but it's incredibly stupid how they propose it. Not in effect until 2022 to help businesses, who will then be under the increased strain in 2022, so that's an empty gesture. Yet we have unnecessary public holidays like "The Day After New Years Day", or even boxing day. We don't need a new public holiday, just get rid of one of them, that way we could start the Matariki public holiday next year. We already have 10 public holidays, many of them redundant.

The Labour party dont even recognise when theyre using inappropriate 'White Privilege' in an election as part of their bs campaign, to (miss)appropriate Taonga. Matariki!
"Hey you Maori's! Vote for us and we'll give you lazy buggas a day from having a day off! ffs!" So, if they(Labour) throw Ihumātao into the deal and have that returned to iwi then ka pai. Otherwise no deal. No Ihumātao, No Matariki. Thats a better deal.

Days to the General Election: 21
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.