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Jacinda Ardern suggests 4-day work week to boost New Zealand tourism

Image: RNZ

Jacinda Ardern suggests 4-day work week to boost New Zealand tourism

New Zealand's Prime Minister says Kiwi employers should consider adopting a four-day work week to help encourage local tourism.

Jacinda Ardern suggests 4-day work week to boost New Zealand tourism

Going live on Facebook last night, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a four-day work week could be a good way to help boost the local tourism economy.

In the video, Ardern spoke of the economic impact COVID-19 has had on the local economy. With the country now over a week into alert level 2 and local travel encouraged, Ardern says employers should rethink their work hours to allow more Kiwis to travel locally.

“The question for me is, how do we encourage Kiwis to … get out and about and visit some of the amazing places and tourism offerings that we have,” she said.

“I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day workweek. Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees,” she continued.

“I’d really encourage people to think about that if you’re an employer and in a position to do so. To think about if that’s something that would work for your workplace, because it certainly would help tourism all around the country.”

The comments come after a visit to Rotorua, where she met with leaders to discuss the tourism industry’s recovery plan.

Earlier, Ardern said the Government was “actively considering” creating more public holidays as another way to encourage domestic travel.

The tourism industry is a significant part of New Zealand’s economy, making up 6% of the country’s GDP last year.

The concept with this new working style is that employees still work the same 40 hours, but in four days as opposed to five.

This isn’t the first time the idea of a four-day work week has been brought up in New Zealand. In 2018, Kiwi businessman Andrew Barnes trialled a four-day work week for over 240 staff members at his company Perpetual Guardian.

The trial was tracked by university researchers as was deemed “a total win-win”, seeing an increase in productivity, customer engagement, staff engagement, reduced stress levels and improved work-life balance. Perpetual Guardian’s revenue remained stable during the trial and Barnes extended it into a permanent scheme.

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