Neu: 2001-12-27

Contents of this issue:

1. Hello, Are You There?

2. Relief Funds


December 27th, 2001

1. Hello, Are You There?

The price of having a phone at home in New Zealand is about to increase
by nearly 5 per cent, affecting more than a million households.

Telecom NZ will also increase charges for off-peak toll calls, calls to
mobile phones overseas and for maintaining wiring in houses.

The increases, from February 1, will bring in an extra $26 million a
year for the company.

Telecom, which has a monopoly on residential phone lines in almost all
parts of the country, blamed the price increases on New Zealanders using
the internet too much - although its Xtra subsidiary heavily promotes
internet use.

The monthly line rental will rise by $1.71 to $38.05 a month in
all parts of the country except Wellington and Christchurch,
where competitor TelstraClear has cut into the market by charging
$29.95 a month.

In those regions, Telecom charges will rise by $1.40 a month, to $31.35.
The company points to "explosive growth" in local calling as the reason
for its first rise in monthly line rental in three years.

2. Relief Funds:

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has released $FJ20,000 from a
regional disaster relief fund to help the Government of Cook Islands
with relief efforts following recent damage caused by Tropical
Cyclone Trina.

The funds will be handed to the Aid Management Office in Cook Islands.

The Forum Secretariat administers the Regional Natural Disaster
Relief Fund which was established by Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru
in July 1976.

The fund provides a modest source of financial relief in the wake of
natural disasters in the Forum Island Countries (Cook Islands, Federated
States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New
Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga,
Tuvalu and Vanuatu).


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