The whole of NZ woke up an hour earlier yesterday – not by choice or a sudden change of heart about Sunday lie-ins – but due to a government mandate introduced over 40 years ago. Back when governments listened to farmers who were determined to milk their cows at 6am every. single. day. even if our bovine brothers (sorry sisters) didn’t really give a flying rat about humans and their arbitrary time clock systems. And of course we had to spare a thought for parents trying to put their kids down (yep parenthood will drive you to that).
Now I’ve talked about the issues I have with daylight savings before (yeh yeh I have issues with lots of stuff I know I know … it’s called grumpy old man syndrome, science my friend!) but this time I’m wondering if it really is time to put it to bed (like that whining three year old who thinks it was his parent’s idea to change the time just to force him to bed earlier).
Other countries, including at least two states of Australia, do just fine without DST.
In fact, I’ve just come back from two weeks in Palm Cove, Queensland where DST doesn’t exist – it’s summertime all year round (to be fair it does actually feel like summer all year round there). At first, I found myself cursing the early light, as it forced it’s way through the blinds making me feel guilty for sleeping in beyond 6am. But it wasn’t long before I started to take advantage of nature’s prod to get me out of bed and active. By the end of the week, we were out jogging just after 6, feeding the wallabies at 7 and wondering how we managed to accrue so much extra time in the day. You get so used to sleeping in on holiday, only to get to 11 and you’re still wondering what to have for breakfast – this way you’re almost forced to get a wriggle on and get maximum usage from the whole day instead of burning daylight while immobile under the covers.
In some places, mornings are also the best time – the wind hasn’t got up, it’s quiet and you have the full potential of the day ahead of you – it’s invigorating, motivating and makes you feel extra super-righteous as you smile and nod at your fellow sunrise joggers while downing your kale smoothie.
Of course, coming back to NZ one week before DST kicks in probably wasn’t the brightest idea – I’ve changed clocks a little too often in the last few weeks and my own internal clock is throwing a tantrum – which is just one more reason I’ve jumped on the let’s call time on daylight savings. Sure it was nice while it lasted and that little psychological boost it provided, heralding the start of the BBQ season and warmer weather – well I think we’ll find suitable substitutes. And I’m sure the IT people of the world – developers, sys admins etc – will thank us for having one less timezone to deal with.
It does mean we’ll all have to remember to check our smoke alarms without the prompt (how grown up!) or at least just have a good fry up and set the couch on fire to make sure they’re actually working.
We’ll also have to come up with better excuses for showing up late to work (do you also show up an hour early when clocks go back?).
So, what’s left to do to make this happen?
The current PM, riding high on recent successes, which include having a baby and then pulling some strings to have the UN General Assembly babysit while she went to browse some Jimmy Choos in the fashion district, is in the perfect place to score a coup by showing the opposition how to run a referendum (who knows maybe it can be done for less than $26 million?).
So will NZ follow the lead of other countries and ditch daylight savings? Will we become a nation of 6am self-righteous jogging fitness freaks? Will the leader of the opposition up the ante by having twins? And will the putting down of all these political babies be the final straw that drives the country to be DST free? Watch this space (on DST time, for now…)