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LETTER: Queen’s Memorial ‘public holiday’

Monday 3 October 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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LETTER: Queen’s Memorial ‘public holiday’

Dear Editor, There is nothing like a good old debate regarding what constitutes a public holiday and what does not, not just in a legal sense but in a social sense. There is much confusion around this and unfortunately this has to rest with those who are charged with ensuring clarity around what is or is not recognised (by law) as a public holiday.

As soon as the PM announced some sort of public recognition to recognise our dearly departed Lilibet, very little thought went into how this was to be achieved given that there is no legal requirement to do so.

It just seems like a decision was made to give everyone a day off as many commonwealth countries were doing, but the telling thing was that many of those countries would have passed into law the requirement to do so, a bit of forward thinking going on for the death of a reigning monarch.

Here in the Cook Islands the keyboard worriers have been in full swing as they have been largely left in the dark as to what this means. For businesses who have spent the last few years having to deal with the fallout from Covid this is one more impediment to getting themselves back to pre-Covid days.

The Government in its wisdom have reportedly enjoined employers to give their people a day off in good faith. This is where it gets a bit muddy because it has been proclaimed in certain circles a public holiday rather than a holiday for the public – a subtle difference, but a difference all the same. One is a legal requirement, the other is a social pull at your strings request.

For employers, the money comes out of their pocket and not the Governments and this has tended to rub them up the wrong way, confusion reigns as to the wording ‘Public Holiday’ because now they think they have to pay penal rates or double bubble if they get their employees to work. Of course, employees are saying you have to pay me penal rates to work.

Well folks a word to the wise, a public holiday is enshrined in law, a holiday for the public is not. Hence no penal rates, no double bubble and if the employer wants an employee to work then they are legally obliged to comply. It’s really the employer who will decide to comply with a Government begging request and of course the employee taking advantage of the situation. Now if they do take the day off, the employer is well within their right to get them to take it as paid leave.

It appears that here is no precedent for this in the Cook Islands so it may usher in an amendment to the Public Holidays Act 1999 and its Amendments to have a special section for such a holiday on the death of a reigning monarch.

More importantly the public and businesses should have been advised through media coverage leading up to the day in question, with the lead coming from the OPM (Prime Minister’s Office) and INTAFF (Internal Affairs) as to what this means and to not use the legal term of ‘Public Holiday’ and instead use the term ‘Holiday for the Public’ and then reassure employers that the government will provide a wages or salary relief to cover the cost for employers. Remember for employers, this is not a freebee the tillerman has to pay, always.

Te Tuhi Kelly

NRL Grand Final

Australia’s NRL Grand Final is held every 12 months and is one of the most popular viewing on television. Not just in Australia, NZ, PNG, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, U.K but also here as well. 

Regrettably, however, the 2022 NRL Grand Final held last Saturday night was not aired on local CITV. It has always been shown on CITV for as long as I can remember. So the question that needs to be asked is why was it not televised by CITV this year?  

I am certain that there’s many angry locals out there who would really like to know what efforts were made by the executive of Cook Islands Rugby League to have last Saturday’s NRL Grand Final played live on local TV?

If the reason for the ‘now show’ was all about sponsorship in terms of buying the rights to have it aired here then surely Cook Islands Rugby League would have done their homework to entice local businesses to contribute financially towards this? They had 12 months to work on making certain that this year’s NRL Grand Final was shown on local television and they failed big time. How disappointing and it speaks volumes of a national league executive that is out of touch and led by someone who has no idea or interest in the game whatsoever asides from his jet setting to international league engagements all over the globe.   

The popularity of rugby league in our country has been falling and the no show of this year’s NRL Grand Final on CITV is perhaps the final nail in the coffin for the code in this country. Shame of CIRL executives. CIRL should be ashamed!

Yours 

NRL fan