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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, June 30) - About 5,000 people sat in the rain in front of Government Building in Samoa this morning to back a demand for the re-instatement of visa-free entry to New Zealand.

Both the Samoan government and the opposition back the campaign to restore the visa-free status as it had been granted in 1962.

The provision was dropped by New Zealand shortly after Wellington passed an act to deny Samoans born in 1924-48 their right to New Zealand citizenship.

In March, a petition of 100,000 signatures was presented to the New Zealand government asking it to accept the earlier Privy Council ruling on the matter.

In his address to the marchers, the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi drew the biggest applause when he said he would be meeting his New Zealand counterpart Helen Clark in five weeks time to discuss the visa issue.

A former New Zealand MP, Anae Arthur Anae said despite the 1962 Treaty of Friendship, New Zealand treated Samoans wanting to visit much worse than citizens of 46 other countries who have visa-free entry.

July 1, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:

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