Man pushing for permanent daylight saving time fears 'breakaway time zones across the country' if Govt doesn't step in

A man pushing for New Zealand to move to permanent summer hours is surprised the "revolution" has begun in Te Anau, considering how far south the tourist town is.

Te Anau, located southwest of Queenstown in the deep south, has decided the weekend's move to daylight saving time will be its last - the clocks won't be going back next April, staying an hour ahead of the rest of New Zealand.

"We just won't agree with the Government, we'll just do our thing," Visit Fiordland manager Stu Cordelle told Newshub last week.

Legally, it will mean nothing. 

"There's actually a piece of legislation called the Time Act 1974 which sets our timezones in stone," Take Back the Clocks founder Louis Houlbrooke told The AM Show on Wednesday. 

"What Te Anau have announced I think is probably more fairly described as a time strike, rather than a time revolution.  But good on them, you know?"

Daylight saving time currently lasts for 27 weeks - more than half the year - and has done since the Government lengthened it from 24 weeks in 2007. Take Back the Clocks wants it taken out of their hands and just made permanent. 

"The daylight savings clock changes cause so much disruption to our lives," said Houlbrooke. "It's like compulsory jetlag. Internationally there's even evidence that people crash their cars more often when they lose that hour of sleep. Software breaks - my iPhone currently says there are two Saturdays… To make daylight saving permanent means we no longer have to change those clocks."

The idea has been tried before. In the mid-1970s, then-US President Richard Nixon declared the US would stick with daylight saving hours through two winters to cut energy usage, following the 1973 oil crisis. The idea was if people had an extra hours' sunlight in the chilly winter evenings, they'd use lights and heaters less. 

While it initially had strong support, the Washington Post reports it "quickly fell out of favour" after Americans had to send kids to school in the dark. In some parts of the country, the sun didn't rise until after 8am. It was ditched before the following winter, the US resigning itself to jumping back and forth in time. A later analysis found it didn't reduce energy usage at all. 

A new effort has been launched by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a former candidate for the party's presidential nomination and the man behind the recent release of long-hidden UFO records

Louis Houlbrooke.
Louis Houlbrooke. Photo credit: The AM Show

Houlbrooke said it was "interesting" that a town so far south would adopt permanent daylight saving time.

"Quite a few people in Southland… are concerned about dark mornings - dark mornings for schoolkids, walking to school in the dark. But these days it's actually a lot easier for businesses and schools to adjust their schedules. You can simply voluntarily adjust your schedule, while the rest of us enjoy those longer evenings."

While the town "may have started a bit of a revolution", Houlbrooke fears there could soon be "breakaway time zones across the country" - suggesting the Government nip the insurrection in the bud by changing the law. 

A petition he started in March has so far gained 1425 signatures.