COOK ISLANDS PM HENRY EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER POSSIBLE RNZI CLOSE

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AVARUA, Rarotonga (February 5, 1998 - Radio Australia/PIDP/CPIS)--- Cook Islands Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry has written to his New Zealand counterpart, Jenny Shipley, expressing concern at a proposal to close Radio New Zealand International.

Sir Geoffrey says Cook Islanders rely on the short wave service, and its presence helps strengthen media freedom in the Pacific region.

The New Zealand Government is considering closing the service as part of a drive to further reduce government spending.

Radio New Zealand International (Te Reo Irirangi O Aotearoa, O Te Moana- Nui-A Kiwa) broadcasts to the Pacific daily, operating with a staff of 12 and an annual budget of about NZ$ 1 million ($US 582,500).

RNZI short wave frequencies include 11905 (25m), 9700 (31m), 11735 (25m), and 15115 (19m).

Additional information about Radio New Zealand International is available on the Worldwide Web at: http://www/actrix.gen.nz/biz/rnzi

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