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New radio transmitter takes NZ to the Pacific

18 May 2004 Media Statement

New radio transmitter takes New Zealand to the Pacific

The government is to purchase a new $2.7 million digital transmitter for the highly regarded Radio New Zealand International, which broadcasts on short-wave to listeners across the Pacific.

Radio New Zealand International is the country’s only international short-wave station, broadcasting 24 hours a day to audiences from Papua New Guinea in the west to French Polynesia in the east, covering all South Pacific countries in between. While broadcasting mainly in English, it also carries news in seven Pacific languages, making it one of the most listened to stations in the South Pacific.

Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey made the announcement today while meeting with diplomatic representatives from the Pacific region at the station’s Wellington headquarters. They were joined by Associate Pacific Island Affairs Minister Taito Phillip Field and Labour Pacific MPs Mark Gosche and Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

“Radio New Zealand International is New Zealand’s dependable voice in the Pacific.

“During the Pacific cyclone season it provides an essential Cyclone Weather Service broadcasting hourly updates of weather conditions - 24 hours a day if necessary. When Niue was devastated by cyclone Heta last year, RNZI provided the tiny island nation with the only means of communication with the outside world.

“The current 15-year old analogue transmitter RNZI has been operating with is nearing the end of its serviceable life. Funding has been secured as part of this year’s Budget to replace the transmitter in 2005. It will operate alongside the current analogue transmitter for a period of several years, and then replace it completely. RNZI will also receive an additional $421,000 annually to meet the increased costs of operating the new equipment.

“The new transmitter will provide a vastly improved, high quality signal to the fourteen Pacific radio stations that rebroadcast RNZI news and programmes every day.

“By ensuring greater security for RNZI, the government is signaling the importance it attaches to the service and to the goodwill it generates between New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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