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Monday Holidays Bill Passes Despite National Opposing

The unusual event of a member’s bill passing into law against the largest party’s wishes took place in Parliament this afternoon.

The Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill passed its third reading by 61 to 60 with National and ACT opposed. All other MPs, including the Government’s usual allies Peter Dunne and the Maori party, supported the bill.

The bill means when the two holidays fall on a weekend, a public holiday will be observed on the following Monday.

Grant Robertson, on behalf of David Clark the bill’s sponsor, said the support of all parties outside National and ACT was much appreciated and the idea for it came in 2010 when both holidays fell on a weekend and the number of public holidays was cut by two.

Holidays were an important thing for many reasons and Governments should not begrudge them, he said.

It was not too late for National to come on board and ``get on the right side of history’’.

National’s David Bennett paid tribute to David Clark and said it was a sign of ructions within Labour that Robertson was taking credit (Clark is currently out of the country on a scholarship).

Bennett said there were good arguments for and against the bill, but National would oppose it because it believed ANZAC and Waitangi Day should be commemorated on the day they fall.

He also argued the bill would very rarely have an effect.

Other National MPs also argued that it would inflict more costs on employers.

The House rose early for the dinner break after completing the bill and will return at 7.30pm to debate the third reading of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.

At the end of the committee stage the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill was reported by 77 to 43.

The bill completed its second reading by 77 to 44 and its first reading by 80 to 40.

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