Samoa Opposition: Daylight Savings ‘A Waste Of Time’

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PM claims daylight savings benefits local farmers

By Niccola Marie Hazelman and Kolotita Talatalaga

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Oct. 17, 2012) – The leader of the Tautua Samoa Party, Palusalue Fa’apo II is not giving up in opposing the Government’s decision to implement daylight savings. Although he feels that the Government has ignored his concerns, he will not go away.

"Daylight savings is simply a waste of time," he said. "I want the government to provide some evidence that shows that indeed daylight savings is beneficial for Samoa.

"I don't see how daylight savings is benefitting our country. And if it’s not benefiting anyone, then we should stop it."

It’s not the first time Palusalue has questioned the validity of daylight savings introduced by the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) two years ago.

"I know you (media) are all tired of putting this issue in your news but obviously the government is not listening and so I have to ask you again. What are the benefits?"

Palusalue said daylight savings is disrupting people’s lives. It has become a burden for Samoa – especially for young people who have to catch the bus in the morning.

"What exactly are the benefits of this daylight savings on Samoa? The only thing I see is the effect it has on the children, the students who have to get up at six in the morning when it is still pitch black.

"How is moving the time forward or back making people more productive? I think it is simply a waste of time?"

"Government should reconsider this whole daylight savings business and focus their time on other things more worthwhile."

Prime MinisterTuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was not immediately available to respond to the latest claims from Palusalue. In the past, however, he has strongly rejected similar criticism from the Opposition. Tuila’epa said only those who farm and go straight home after work understand the benefits of daylight savings.

"If you sleep at 10pm every night, regardless of the time switch, then you end up saving an hour’s worth on your electricity bill," he told the media during a previous interview.

"Daylight savings also provides farmers – and public servants who head to the plantation after work - with another hour of daylight to put to good economic use.

"The Tautua party leaders do not understand this because first, they frequent the bars at night and do not have a regular bedtime. Second, they don’t have plantations. Only those who farm and go straight home understand the benefits of daylight savings."

Tuilaepa’s position is strongly supported by farmers selling their crops at Fugalei.

"It allows me to get more work done," said Telesia Leala’aulotolelei, of Fasito’o-Tai. "I wake up early, and because I live quite far away from town, I get here and the sun still isn’t fully up yet. I guess the time change is useful for the farmers in that respect."

Ms. Leala’aulotolelei, however, believes the students are the ones who are benefitting the least from daylight saving.

"It’s hard for the children to get up in the mornings because they look outside and it is still dark…it is really hard to wake them up," she said. Tagata Eliapo from Falefa agrees.

"Daylight savings time is really good. It means that I can wake before the sun is up, we can come here to the market early, sell our produce quicker, and then we can go home on the last bus. By midday, almost all our produce would have been sold."

Tafaomaleava Vaisigano, of Fusi Safata, is yet another supporter of daylight saving.

He says Samoa just needs a little time to adjust to the changes.

"I like the time change – it’s faster, and it is a good change. The hardest thing about it is that it is a new concept to Samoa, but once we get used to the time change, we will not even notice it."

Daylight saving was introduced in September 2010.

A government report stated that daylight saving time would benefit Samoa by: enhancing energy efficiency, boosting leisure activities, promoting public health and safety and increasing Samoa’s economic growth.

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