Why I hate daylight saving time and all the reasons why we should delete it

OPINION: Summer time is here.

Many people will attend evening barbecues, brisk walks after work, jogging or generally seeking a place outside office hours to get in touch with nature.

No you will not do that. Not when the weather is true to its usual form for this time of year. And it’s even worse the further south you go.

A few years ago I was in Bluff the week we set our clocks forward. There I experienced a torrential rain that was so cold that I counted myself lucky that I could still feel my face vaguely. Not exactly conducive to throwing a shrimp at the barbie.

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But it’s not just a problem for people in the Deep South.

Since 2007, we seem to have magnified this problem by: extend summer time by three weeks.

It’s like a boy who thinks he liked the first three pieces of cake so much that he’d feel even better if he had one more.

Instead, his digestive system grinds to a halt; a situation relieved only by a generous dose of fig syrup.

A not very scientific poll of friends, relatives and colleagues suggests that many find the switch a bit tiring; at least the first week after the change, feeling a little out of tune, and the change back.

Others feel the stationary jet lag longer.

In 2018, the highly scientific opinion poll concluded that a majority of continental countries were fed up with the switch; justifying ending the ridiculous trial.

EU researchers also quoted increased accident rates and, “a small but detectable increase in deaths,” due to increased rates of strokes, heart attacks and accidents.

A small increase, that’s true. But if you had asked them ahead of time, that small but observable group of ex-Europeans would probably have spoken a strong word to keep time the way God intended.

I bet there’s a small but discernible group of ex-kiwi that agrees with them.

European summer time was supposed to end in 2021, but due to Covid and miles of Eurocratic bureaucracy it’s been put on the back burnermaybe permanently.

But there’s no reason we can’t beat them, or at least scrap the extra three weeks.

The improvement that the expansion brings is marginal at best.

It provides a cold, dark morning start for dairy farmers, construction workers and factory workers, who are unable to walk into the office at 8:30 am.

That problem is nationwide, but gets worse the further south you go.

In high summer, the time shift starts to get a little annoying for Christchurch early risers and bed-goers like me, but it’s terrible for those south of the Waitaki.

Another factor northerners don’t consider is the long southern summer twilight. When the sun sets in Auckland, it’s like God draws a curtain – Bam! It is dark; end of story.

In the summer south, the almighty is slowly turning the dimmer knob. The twilight lasts for ages.

Six years ago, Invercargill’s board ran into trouble for shelling out a fortune on new Christmas lights. They needn’t have worried.

Most little ones won’t get to see them unless they put some No Doz in their vanilla rice.

Trying to get children to sleep when the sun is still around is an ordeal that would make the Pope swear, especially around the longest day, which, through a sick cosmic joke, occurs just before Christmas.

“It’s not dark yet! I’m waiting for Santa.”

Unlike Invercargill, Auckland’s longest day ends an hour earlier. That’s a very civilized hour – almost perfect even for Aucklanders to sleep peacefully – without the need for blackout curtains or eyeshadow.

Because of the huge imbalance between the north/south population, the tyranny of the majority dictates that nothing will change.

A government investigation from 2008 showed that a majority of Kiwis were in favor of leaving daylight saving time unchanged.

Even before daylight saving time was adopted in 1974we were already half an hour before where we needed to be.

In the dark days of World War II, half an hour of daylight saving time, introduced in the 1920s for summer, was made all year round.

This was supposed to be temporary, but it wasn’t.

It may not have done much to save power (which was its supposed benefit).

So the summer sun is not at its peak (highest point) here until about 1:30 PM, rather than noon.

This is out of the question by international standards.

It’s not as bad as China and India, which have only one time zone for their huge landmasses. However, neither government is stupid enough to subject their people to time-shattering stuff every six months.

I accept that completely messing with binning time is probably a non-starter, but the three week extension makes no sense. We just don’t have the weather to justify summer when it’s not summer – as much as we’d like to.

Let’s stop this failed attempt at climate wish-fulfillment and abolish the first three weeks of daylight saving time. This way farmers, construction workers, industrial workers (North and South), the dog and I can at least have a glimmer of sunlight in the morning.


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