Mondayising Anzac Day and
Waitangi Day is all but a reality after Prime Minister John
Key confirmed this morning that he expected a Labour MP's
bill on the matter to pass into law, and ruled out using the
Government veto on it.
Labour MP David Clark's members' bill to allow a day off on a
Monday if the two pubic holidays fall on the weekend is
expected to get its second reading in Parliament tomorrow.
National does not support the bill, claiming it will put too
much load on businesses and would detract from the
significance of the dates. However, Mr Clark has secured the
support of the Maori Party and United Future as well as
Opposition Parties - giving it just enough support to pass
without Government support.
Mr Key said National's decision to oppose the bill was "a
line ball call right from the start"and its caucus had been
fairly divided on the issue.
"So our view is that the status quo should continue, but I
imagine it will pass. We won't veto it."
He said it was highly unusual for an Opposition member's bill
to pass without the support of the main governing party, but
it would be "disingenuous"for National to start supporting it
at this stage.
"I don't think people would have believed it. We'd had a
view, it was a line ball call from the start and there was a
mixture of views in the caucus, but in the end we took the
view it was better to stay with the status quo and I think
people would see through it if we changed now."
Mr Key said it was a marginal call whether the Government
could have invoked its veto on the bill - it is allowed to
block legislation that has an adverse fiscal impact - as it
intended to do with Sue Moroney's bill to increase paid
Most of the cost of the Mondayising bill was on the private
sector rather than the Government, Mr Key said.
"We reserve the veto for Government expenditure and there is
some Government expenditure, but it's not huge. I think at
the margin we might have been able to [use the veto] but we
would have been stretching it a bit.
"The world is not going to cave in as a result of it. It will
please some people and some people will have a holiday on a
day they might not have otherwise got. It's six of one and
half a dozen of the other."