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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (June 21, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Don McKinnon announced Friday that Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) will continue its current short-wave radio service to the South Pacific.

McKinnon said a lengthy government review has concluded the service is widely valued and must be retained.

In a statement from Wellington, the Foreign Minister said that audiences were especially appreciative of RNZI's international and regional news service.

Cyclone warnings, in particular, he noted, are seen as an important way of keeping people throughout the Pacific in touch with up-to-date and accurate emergency information.

McKinnon said the service also provides an important back-up to more formal relations with the region and conveys a New Zealand perspective on what is happening in the Pacific Islands region.

Funding levels for RNZI, he pointed out, will remain unchanged at existing baseline levels of NZ$1.294 million ($US 669,000) per annum.

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