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Pan-Maori Trust Presents Big Opportunities

Release: Quotable New Zealand

The person charged with setting up the interim pan-Maori trust, which will have exclusive rights to a block of high-tech radio spectrum being auctioned in July, has welcomed the initiative as positive for Maori.

Quotable New Zealand chief executive Bill Osborne has been asked by Ministers to work with officials to establish the trust and appoint a commercial advisor.

The final composition of the trust is yet to be determined. This will hopefully be done either late this week or early next week.

The trust will have exclusive rights to purchase one of the four blocks of third generation spectrum when it goes under the hammer as part of the 2Ghz spectrum auction.

The spectrum can be used to provide high-tech cellphone services including e-mail, Internet access, video and television.

"The government says it is taking this step as part of its 'close the gaps' policy to assist Maori," Bill Osborne said.

"I believe that this will be an effective and practical tool to help young Maori, it's not a hand-out, but an ongoing chance for us to improve the status of our people.

"From this initiative we can train and employ our young people, we can create scholarships for them. We can ensure that young Maori have a share in the future high-tech developments that will deliver skills and jobs in New Zealand.

"My immediate task right now is to have the Trust established as soon as possible and to get the ball rolling – I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead," Bill Osborne said.

Peter Douglas – 025 765 618

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