Mondayizing Waitangi Day and Anzac Day

Last night I saw the Campbell Live article on TV3 asking the question should Anzac Day and Waitangi Day be Monday-ized? This year features the unfortunate coincidence that both of these holidays fall on a Saturday, thus NZ workers miss out on what would otherwise be a day off.

The most articulate person featured in Campbell Live’s article was the business leader (whose name I took no notice of) whose argument was against the proposition. His reason for not Mondayizing these holidays were (1) that the cost of doing so was enormous, and (2) that the cost would be borne by NZ businesses and business owners.

These arguments sounded very convincing, being backed by relevant statistics and  placed next to interviews of peoples on the street of “the common man,” whose comments were obviously extemporaneous and not so well presented. Two of these unprepared opinions (from the men) articulated reasons for rejecting the second negative argument, and one (from the woman) for rejecting both negative augments by offering a positive reason. However, these came across as self-indulgent and somewhat petty in comparison.

The men’s argument was to the effect that productivity of the nation would not suffer. People work harder on four day weeks to make up for the fifth they take off. And people who are more relaxed from holidays are more content and better workers overall during the year.

The main problem with this business leaders argument was (peripherally) address by the woman, who said it was good to have a holiday and have extra time to spend with their kids. Her argument, at its essence, is that the business leader was only counting the economic cost. He was not taking into account the social cost of not properly commemorating these holidays.

(1) Who can measure the benefit of a holiday that allows Fathers and Mothers to spend an extra day of relaxation with their children. Young people who are the future leaders of the nation? (not to mention the future producers, consumers, citizens and parents of the future)

(2) What about the cost of forgetting those the holiday commemorates? The Grandparents and Great-grandparents of our nations children fought in the war to retain for us freedom from the oppression of foreign regimes. Will values such as; self-sacrifice, courage and bravery, freedom, rising to fight against the evil power structures of this world, sovereignty or self-governance, of learning from history, pass in this generation? It may if we do not officially recognize and subscribe more importance to such commemorative anniversaries.

(3) Holidays also fulfill a religious and ethical function by installing Christian values into society. Christmas, for instance, promotes and cultivates the values of peace and goodwill towards others. When governments recognize the significance of such holidays and “mondayize” them, it provides an opportunity for instilling into society the values the holiday represents. The benefit of which is immeasurable.

This business leader’s myopia was sadly typical today of those who are experts in their field (How often do we hear scientists pontificating in subject areas that are not their speciality?) We should remember that a nation is not primarily composed of business firms, but families. Businesses serve families, not visa versa. And governments serves God be serving the people, not by being a slave to Mammon. Accordingly, I think I’ll take the advise of a mother over a business leader when it comes to matters that concern the health and well-being of society – no matter how well spoken you appear.

4 replies
  1. Bnonn
    Bnonn says:

    Who can measure the benefit of a holiday that allows Fathers and Mothers to spend an extra day of relaxation with their children.

    Well if you can't measure it, you can't make an argument from it.

    Will values such as; self-sacrifice, courage and bravery, freedom, rising to fight against the evil power structures of this world, sovereignty or self-governance, of learning from history, pass in this generation? It may if we do not officially recognize and subscribe more importance to such commemorative anniversaries.

    This is just naive, Stu. If parents value the things you list, then they will teach them to their children, and their children are likely to value them. If parents do not value these things, then all the public holidays in the world will just be an excuse for a day off.

    When governments recognize the significance of such holidays and “mondayize” them, it provides an opportunity for instilling into society the values the holiday represents. The benefit of which is immeasurable.

    I haven't noticed any more people becoming Christian because Christmas is a public holiday. To most people, the values which Christmas represents are family, enjoyment, and relaxation.

    We should remember that a nation is not primarily composed of business firms, but families

    How is your bias toward families any different from the businessman's bias toward business? And why do so many people diminish, by implication, the importance of business in allowing families to exist at all? Neither are more important than the other in any pragmatic sense; without a strong economy, society breaks down, and without a strong society, business is irrelevant. They're co-dependent.

    That said, I find the notion that Mondayizing a public holiday is going to effect a profound social good that outweighs the quantifiable economic detriments to be pretty flimsy. As a business owner and a father, I feel more than usually entitled to hold an opinion here.

  2. Damian
    Damian says:

    Ha! Stuart, you're taking things too seriously. If you want more (or a consistent number of) holidays just say you like the idea of Mondayizing. I'm all for Mondayized holidays too.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Hi there,

    Well if you can't measure it, you can't make an argument from it.

    The point is not that this unquantifiable factor counterbalances the economic expense, but that this unquantifiable factor has not even been considered in the businessman's equation and could counter-balance it.

    This is just naive, Stu. If parents value the things you list, then they will teach them to their children, and their children are likely to value them. If parents do not value these things, then all the public holidays in the world will just be an excuse for a day off.

    Don't call me naive, Bnonn. Certainly if parents have the values I listed, then they may make an effort to instill them in their children. However, they may lack adequate opportunity to do so, and additionally, may not recognize these values as important in, or as a part of, their value system until they see that the nation as a whole shares and promotes the values those holidays represent. That is to say, official recognition of those holidays and the values they represent may provide the necessary tipping-point that takes those values from sub-conscious and/or unintentional to conscious and/or intentional.

    I haven't noticed any more people becoming Christian because Christmas is a public holiday. To most people, the values which Christmas represents are family, enjoyment, and relaxation.

    Start looking harder. I know people who have become Christians at Christmas, and that this was a public holiday was almost certainly a contributing factor to their conversion. But that is irrelevant, as a persons salvation is not what is in view here.

    What is in view is the Christian values the holiday promotes or instills. Christmas certainly promotes more values than what you have just listed, but what you have just listed are Christian values anyway. So far from this casting aspersions on my point, this is actually confirming it.

    How is your bias toward families any different from the businessman's bias toward business? And why do so many people diminish, by implication, the importance of business in allowing families to exist at all? Neither are more important than the other in any pragmatic sense; without a strong economy, society breaks down, and without a strong society, business is irrelevant. They're co-dependent.

    Bnonn, my bias towards families is different in that my bias does not make me blind, or fail to factor into my argument, the economic concerns of the businessman.

    On the contrary, Business is not irrelevant without a strong society. In fact, it's probably becomes more important the weaker a society becomes. And economic concerns are dependent on the existence of families, but families are not dependent on the existence of economic concerns.

    The issue at hand is what is primary; i.e. what priority should take precedence or bear more weight in the equation? Since the priority should go to that with is foundational to the nation future, and since the family is the most basic structure in society (in value formation, in ethical training, in rational thinking, in supplying leaders and workers to the business arena, etc), then the conclusion is that the priority should be the family. This does not diminish the importance of business for the health and future of society, but it does put it in its proper place as the servant of the other.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Damian,

    Of course I could just give my opinion on the matter. But my goal is to assess the reasons given for each position, and by thinking Christianly provide supplementary arguments where appropriate.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *