NEW ZEALAND PENSION DECISION BENEFICIAL FOR PACIFIC ISLANDERS

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (March 9, 1999 – Radio Australia)---Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says Samoa and other Pacific Island countries will receive major economic and social benefits from New Zealand's decision to allow Pacific Islanders to return home with full pensions.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa made the comments yesterday during his first state visit to New Zealand.

He said the long-awaited approval of full superannuation portability last month is going to have major positive impacts.

Under the new policy, to take effect in October, Pacific Islanders who have lived in New Zealand for 20 years, including five years over the age of 50, will be able to retire to their homelands on full pension.

After a day of functions in Auckland today, Mr. Tuilaepa heads to the New Zealand capital, Wellington, tomorrow where he will meet Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, senior ministers and Reserve Bank Governor, Don Brash.

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