Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Disaster leisureism!

Now that the initial wave has passed, and we are (hopefully) safe in our national bubble, the government is thinking about how to keep the economy ticking over, and how to salvage the bits (like tourism) that are now useless. And for that particular industry, she has mentioned a great idea: more holidays!

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says more public holidays for Kiwis to experience New Zealand is among a number of things the Government is "actively considering" to encourage domestic tourism.

Ardern is in Rotorua meeting with key leaders to discuss the tourism industry's recovery.

She said her message to Kiwis was "to come and experience your own backyard" and experience the cultural offering.

But that requires that people have time and money. More public holidays - or more annual leave - would certainly help with the first bit. As for what public holidays we should have, Matariki and Suffrage Day are the obvious ones: both kiwi-as, both about who we are, and both well-timed with other holidays (and if you want Matariki to be a public holiday, there's even a Parliamentary petition for it here).

But also, once we have extra public holidays, it will become hard to take them away. So we may be able to use this disaster to fulfil the goal of giving people back a little more of their time, a little more of their lives that would otherwise be wasted by their employer. And that seems worthwhile to me.