Changing New Zealand's summer holidays to February when the
weather is more settled would cause major problems for
businesses, a business leader says.
The proposed shift has been discussed since Peter Dunne
expressed his support to the Sunday Star Times in the
"What I'd envisage is you'd have would be a shorter Christmas
period ... and then we would resume business as usual until
the end of January and the holiday month would become
February," he said.
Dunne said he has not yet mounted a campaign to make the
change, but he thinks it is a good idea.
"The weather is better and more settled in February/March. I
do think it's something we should think seriously about and
it's something I think the public would get used to fairly
quickly," he said.
"There are some issues around the questions of how the school
terms might fit but they could be adjusted."
Dunne said he also understood the change could impact the
business cycle but he didn't think any of the issue were
"That's transition. These are things that we could get over
if we decided to make a change."
Since speaking out, Dunne said he had received only positive
"The comments that I have seen on Twitter, Facebook and just
in general emails ... I haven't had one negative one yet."
However, Business New Zealand CEO Phil O'Reilly says while he
likes the idea of taking holiday at the hottest time of the
year, the practicality was a "problem".
"For me, as a human being, it's a nice idea.
"As a personal thought, I suspect most New Zealanders would
say 'Yeah, I'd like to be taking February off, because the
But as a business representative, the problems associated
would be two-fold, he said.
The first would be the fact that nowhere else takes their
holidays in February.
"We'd be on holiday and all of our customers would be ringing
us up saying 'where are you?"'
We'd be out of step with what's happening with our trading
Secondly, the "sunk costs" of the change - such as changing
the school year - would be big.
"It's big, I don't know how you'd define it but it's
multi-billions. Big numbers.
"Those two things alone would make you say 'It's probably too
O'Reilly also noted that, as we move away from the
traditional factory-based model towards a more service and
knowledge-based economy, people have more choice about when
they want to take their holidays anyway.
"The [thing] that is insurmountable is that nobody else in
the world is on holiday in February.
"We don't get to tell the world what to do."
A WeatherWatch poll last year asked readers to choose when
their preference for holidays would be.
Twenty-eight per cent of respondents wanted to leave the
holidays as they were, 17 per cent wanted to take their
holiday in January and 55 per cent said they wanted to take
the time off in February.
"It does make sense if you think about it. December is very
much like spring, a lot of meteorologists believe that summer
doesn't officially start until the longest day of the year
just before Christmas," head analyst Philip Duncan said.
"We're almost at the wrong end of the season."
- Cassandra Mason of Herald Online