Why there shouldn’t be any trading over Easter

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I think 30 years of rampant neoliberal consumerism has created an ocean of wage slaves who buy sparkly things in sterile malls to numb the hollowness of a culture that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

So when I hear retailers bleat that they can’t open on holidays which they staff with minimum wage workers who have incredibly weak labour protections, I say, ‘fuck ’em’.

Look at Bunnings and their desire to throw away a defibrillator just to spite the Union. Look at the way Talley’s injure and use hunger as a negotiating tactic. Look at the way the Ports union has to fight for the right to work with dignity. Look at the logging industry and their contempt for their workers hence the lack of real safety regulation.

Remember the Pike River workers who never came home.

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So when I hear retailers bleat that they can’t open on holidays which they staff with minimum wage workers who have incredibly weak labour protections, I say, ‘fuck ’em’.

The recent future of work conference Labour held talked about cutting back the working week, talked about down sizing our needless consumerism and yet here we have Labour talking about loosening Easter trading hours.

Another example of Labour snuggling up to small business owners they’re trying to woo over while ignoring their core values.

A zig when Labour should’ve zagged.

We don’t need more time in malls, slowly rotting from the inside. We need community and interaction, that is what builds national identity not 30% off sales and easy credit.

I think that it is incredibly important for the fabric of our society for us all to put down tools as citizens on specific days and all of us venture out into our amazing public spaces and be friendly with one another.

The importance of our civility in public towards each other, the importance of being tolerant while sharing the same space and the importance to actually stop working and enjoy doing nothing but spend time with our family, friends and whanau would do more to building that sense of nationhood that we are always jealously eyeing Australia up for than any other thing.

As citizens, we have earned the right to have days off, and we need to hold onto this right and understand it is the universal application of it that is so important. It’s the need to share our beaches and out door spaces together on these days that builds bonds between families and groups of people who would never otherwise meet in their busy 9-5, 5-9 plus the odd late shift lives.

For those public servants forced to work while the rest of us play, the media should be full of ‘spare a thought for’ type stories so that our public servants who must continue to staff essential services while the rest of us relax are given the respect and admiration they deserve for their selfless functions.

I would even go as far as demanding a new holiday – New Zealand Volunteers day. The idea being that there is one day a year we all universally have off to help volunteer in society all on the same day. It could be a mass planting, or cleaning up, or helping reach out to the elderly or migrant communities or anyone whose a bit different so we can all feel included.

I would also suggest that we make the date of the election a Wednesday and also make it a public holiday. We bitch so much in this country about not having a day we can celebrate as NZers because Pakeha feel so guilty about Waitangi Day, so why not search for that which binds us and celebrate that?

Election Day should be a celebration because we are one of the few privileged countries around the planet that allows political leadership to change minus violence and repression. Our exercising of the right to vote peacefully is celebration in itself and making it a mid week public holiday would do more for participation rates than easily hacked online voting.

That sense of self identity and nationhood that we always whine about not being present during Waitangi Day takes effort and can’t simply be left up to the ‘free market’. The space where that national identity can take shape has to be universally applied in the form of mandatory public holidays and not left to be traded in by unscrupulous employers who if given half a chance would make ‘Hi Ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go’ the new National anthem.

The thousands of different interactions generated by us all respectfully sharing the same space together on set days would do more for our understanding of each other than a million hours of Paul Henry and Mike Hosking.

What is the point of being a citizen in a democracy if we can’t enjoy the leisure of spending time outside in this glorious country? Are we really all wage slaves? Is that what a modern democracy has been denigrated too?

‘I have a dream to work every hour of the day by a boss who is screwing me over’ isn’t particularly inspirational is it?

So when I hear retailers bleat that they can’t open on holidays which they staff with minimum wage workers who have incredibly weak labour protections, I say, ‘fuck ’em’.

 

 

17 COMMENTS

  1. Just name random holidays. Easter and religious dates don’t appeal to me and cause division. Scratch sky faerie holidays and install People-care breaks throughout the year.

    • Kappanz, so in effect, you’re saying that holidays should be individualised, rather than a social activity?

      That would appeal to Act-types.

      Thing is, if public holidays are individualised, it no longer becomes a family or community event. It’s a day off for indivisduals.

      And how lomng before penal rates for working on “public holidays” is eliminated, as happened over weekend trading?

      It’s a win-win for retailers, but the rest of us lose out.

  2. Public holidays mean jack shit in NZ. Most people would still be working as its really only the banks and the post offices that close for the day, everything else, from retail to services, will still be open, thus rendering the holiday totally pointless. Also, fuck public holidays, I want my mail and my money, not the government deciding what arbitrary days I am denied access to them.

  3. “So when I hear retailers bleat that they can’t open on holidays which they staff with minimum wage workers who have incredibly weak labour protections, I say, ‘fuck ’em’.”

    me too

  4. I’m with you on this one. Once volunteers’ day is well-established, make it two weeks annual mandatory civil service.

    Mandatory. For everyone.

    Like military service except useful: cleanups, homeless-helping, plantings, maintenance of public buildings/spaces… make the list varied enough so that a citizen can choose.

    Did I mention that everyone has to do it – politicians, judiciary, advertisers, financiers, wage-workers, prisoners, the needy; to the best of their capacity. At least then everyone could say that they did at least one useful thing per year.

    • I agree.

      There would be challenges in keeping the neolibs from getting their grubby mitts on it though and turning it into free labour, but it’s not impossible. It could be a requirement that registered volunteer/community/non-profit organisations are involved, and have vetting processes and possible penalties/fines from the get-go to keep job roles/work events as wholesome as possible and keep the neolibs out – and concerted efforts to KEEP it that way. The neolibs would be quick to squeal that it’s “communism”, but with carefully considered requirements in place, it could be very beneficial.

      IMHO, I’d advocate for two days once every two months, consecutive or otherwise, for twelve days a year total. That way it’s a bit regular and gradually shapes our individual and national identities. Make it a celebration of our good-hearted kiwi natures, working for the environment, commons, and community.

      Working together used to be a huge part of kiwi identity; what do the ANZACs stand for if not solidarity?

      Done right, it could have positive effects on youth identity and alienation, depression, suicide too. I’d bet national innovation, creativity, happiness/life satisfaction could improve too.

      I’d personally support such an experiment, with very carefully considered policy behind it. Would have to watch out for neolib con jobs and “left wing” authoritarianism though.

  5. Agree wholeheartedly. I would go further and make every Sunday a non work day for all except those essential work. So no more supermarket, mall, main street shop, pub or restaurant. Have a weekly day of R&R

    • Why Sunday? Or are you following the Pope’s example? People should get time off but should be allowed to choose what day they want off.

  6. Yes Martyn, we all need breaks from work, and time for family, else the society runs amok, with the young getting into trouble.

    Parents have a leading role here we are told so by Government continually, so why are they now encouraging parents to be absent from parenting?

    This Government has lost it entirely.

  7. We bitch so much in this country about not having a day we can celebrate as NZers because Pakeha feel so guilty about Waitangi Day, so why not search for that which binds us and celebrate that? – See more at: https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/03/29/why-there-shouldnt-be-any-trading-over-easter/?utm_content=buffer9e413&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.CI0SFzbQ.dpuf

    The PM didn’t feel guilty about Waitangi Day. He just didn’t go and he let Stephen Joyce take the dildo hit instead.

    Key was a the Auckland Nines, with his Lockwood Flag on his lapel. No guilt there, move on.

  8. As an atheist, I am grateful that we have a couple of days of the year when we can be fairly certain that the whole family can get together.
    I question now whether those days should be days of particular religious observance. Would Labour day be a better day for such a thing, mind you we’d need another one or two of them to make up the numbers.
    People whose jobs are in businesses that seems to operate, for all intents and purposes, around the clock, may in theory have the choice not to work public holidays but the reality is very different.

  9. Easter is a phony festival, created by the Roman church to supress and usurp the traditional spring celebrations of people in the Northern Hemisphere. ‘Died on the cross and was resurrected 3 days later’ refers to the Sun reaching its lowest elevation around 21st December and not continuing to ‘disappear’ (people’s greatest fear) but starting to rise (all due to the Earth’s erratic orbit and tilted axis, of course), heralding the arrival of warmer days and new life.

    Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Christ, of course, and is the winter solstice usurped by religionists, in recent times morphed into an orgy of overconsumption and greed.

    It was an incredible confidence trick to persuade people to give up their traditional festivals and establish phony ones in their places, and then con them into believing in the phony festivals. The church’s threat of eternal damnation and torture forever for those who did not comply helped.

    New Zealand is not a Christian nation, of course; that is all a pretence, like everything else in this fraudulent culture. Christianity is a convenient peg on which to hang the money-lender-come-corporate-profits structure of the consumeristic society. A truly Christian society would not tolerate exploitation of people and destruction of the environment that this phony culture celebrates.

    As for work and holidays, it pays to remember that in Dickens’ time people worked 10 or 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, unless they were black and lived in the ‘exceptional’ Christian nation, in which case they worked from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year, for food and clothing and the privilege of attending church.

    Nothing has changed over the centuries; as a general rule, those who do the least work get the most reward and those who do the most work get the least reward.

    However, since the resent culture is entirely phony, is self-destructive and is destroying everything it needs to persist, present arrangements won’t last much longer…..till 2020 maybe.

    After that, who knows? Some kind of return to normality but on an overpopulated planet that has been stripped of resources and is undergoing meltdown.

  10. The Easter trading hours and penal rates laws are a bit of a puzzle though.
    Easter Sunday is not a statutory holiday yet (just about) everything has to stay closed. Easter Monday IS a statutory holiday yet (nearly) everything is open!!!
    We need to restore Sunday as a family day, the way it was before the neo-liberals turned it into just another working day.
    When I was young nothing was open on Sunday except for dairies and a few petrol stations.
    We didn’t feel deprived because we couldn’t mooch aimlessly around the shops buying rubbish that we didn’t actually need.

    • I agree with you, Mike. I was surprised to learn this year that Italy does not have a public holiday on Good Friday – so I guess we aren’t so badly catered for, overall.

  11. There are presently only three and a half days in the year that shops are not allowed to open, and I just cannot believe the BS “despair” about the supposedly too “stringent” law that some business operators express.

    If they cannot attract customers over the rest of the year (361 and a half days) then they must be useless business operators with perhaps a flawed business model, to not do all right.

    I go further and would return to have Sunday closed for most the day, so as to give workers a day off, and to offer families time to do stuff together.

    Consumerism has sadly affected too many, and hence so many in the public either support more opening hours or are just indifferent about it.

    Have people forgotten to do normal things that do not involve the primitive habit of hunting and gathering in shops? There is more to life than money and consumerism, and it would not harm to rediscover and value other activities that may also recreate a social spirit amongst people.

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