Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has announced Labour will make Matariki New Zealand’s twelth public holiday from 2022 if re-elected.
The new winter public holiday would fall at some point during the Matariki period, with an expectation that it would always happen on either a Monday or a Friday.
The policy announcement follows a series of public campaigns for the Matariki, which acts as the Māori New Year, to be recognised.
The exact timing of Matariki shifts every year as it relates to a star cluster reappearing and has traditionally varied between Iwi.
It would be the first new public holiday since the Third Labour Government made Waitangi Day a public holiday in 1973, although then Prime Minister Norman Kirk called it “New Zealand Day”.
“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,” Ardern said.
She said the struggling tourism sector could use the help of another holiday and noted the “long run” with no public holidays that currently happens between Queen’s Birthday in early June and Labour Day in late October.
“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,” Ardern said.
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