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ICANN marks big week for Pacific region IT

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Communications
Minister for Information Technology

Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
Associate Minister for Pacific Island Affairs

27 March 2006 Media Statement

ICANN marks big week for Pacific region IT

This week's ICANN meeting in Wellington also marks a big week for Pacific region Information Technology issues, say Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe and Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

Mr Cunliffe opened the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) meeting at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington today.

On Thursday, he will chair a forum of communications ministers from around the Pacific region who will be in Wellington during ICANN.

Friday has been declared Pasifika IT Day to highlight how information technology is as essential to the region's progress as ships and aircraft. A series of meetings will be held in Wellington at the same venue as ICANN.

Mr Cunliffe said the principal focus of Thursday's ministers' forum would be how improved access to information and communications technologies could assist in regional economic and social development.

"Having good ICT infrastructure and access are crucial tools for Pacific Island states to overcome their distance from major markets and their small populations," said Mr Cunliffe.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban said the Pasifika IT Day would provide a fitting conclusion to the ICANN and ministers' meetings.

"Focussing on the Pacific will help to bridge the digital divide with our Pacific communities in New Zealand and our cousins in the Pacific," she said. "Digital literacy is an essential skill, akin to reading and writing, and this Government's vision is that all New Zealanders will benefit from the power of information and communication technologies."

The Pasifika IT Day is organised by the 2020 Communications Trust. Luamanuvao Winnie Laban will speak on the importance of ICT in the development of Pacific communities.

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