NZ First won't support extra public holiday - Winston Peters

NZ First leader Winston Peters is refusing to back calls for an extra public holiday - saying it will come at too much cost to businesses.

"We have been asked by media whether NZ First supports an extra public holiday at this time. Our answer after serious thought is - no," Peters posted to Facebook on Wednesday. 

"Public holidays are great, but another holiday will cost small businesses in particular. And it will cost thousands of workers their jobs as well - and NZ First certainly understands that."

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a new special public holiday is one of the ideas the Government is "actively considering" as a way to inject money into the struggling tourism industry.

On Wednesday, Ardern said this was still up for discussion.

"We are as a Government looking at a wide range of options to support tourism, to support small business owners, to get our economy back up and running again," she said at her press conference on Wednesday.

"So I haven't ruled things in and out. But those are discussions that are still being had and ideas that are still being considered."

But Peters says New Zealand has just been through weeks and weeks of lockdown - "in some ways an enforced holiday".

"We understand how COVID-19 has put small business owners under real, painful financial strain," he posted.

"We know that many business owners are not paying themselves so they can keep their staff going. We know many business owners, who are paying their bills, but not paying themselves. That is why we can't support extra public holidays - they come at a cost to businesses and workers.

"It's another day of no production, in a year where production is well down due to the COVID lockdown. For the mass majority of businesses. It's another day of no income when they need it as business owners to pay all their bills."

On the other hand, the tourism industry is pushing for an extra day off, saying it normally sees a boost in spending on these holidays.

And The Project NZ's Jeremy Corbett has been actively campaigning for a national 'GOOT Day' or 'Get Out Of Town Day' encouraging Kiwis to discover more of Aotearoa.

"It's not often I have an idea. Imagine my excitement that the Prime Minister has had the same one!" Corbett told Newshub.

"A holiday is a fitting thank you to Kiwis for doing what we were asked and getting New Zealand a gold medal in beating coronavirus."