Pacific News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

GO CASHLESS COMING TO N.Z. HIGH COMMISSION

From Monday 2 October, the New Zealand High Commission in Apia will no longer accept cash for service fee payments over the counter. 

The move, says New Zealand High Commissioner, David Nicholson, is designed to streamline the way the office does business, and free up frontline staff to spend more time helping customers and less time processing money. 

 “We know going cash-free is the way of the future,” said Mr. Nicholson. 

 “In a predominantly cash-based society, like Samoa, it will take a little bit of getting used to, but we are confident that in the long run, it will be worth it. 

 “Going cash-free also removes the risks associated with transporting money to and from the bank — overall, it will be faster and more effective for everyone.”

Mr. Nicholson also noted the important role Samoa’s banks will play in supporting the Go Cashless approach. 

 “Given that we will only be accepting EFTPOS or credit card payments, direct deposits, or official bank cheques, making sure both our customers and the banks know what is required — like knowing the correct bank account or payee details — is critical,” he said. 

The new system will apply to payments for all service fees, including passport and citizenship fees, consular and notarial fees, and births, deaths and marriages fees. 

Aligning with the front-of-house transition to going cash-free, the New Zealand High Commission will also be moving all of its vendor accounts away from cash and cheque payments to an electronic payment system. 

 “We will be using an online banking platform — so, direct credit payments to bank accounts — for all of our vendor accounts from Monday 2 October, as well,” Mr. Nicholson said. 

“Again, this is to modernize our processes and ensure we are operating in the most secure and efficient way possible.” 

 (Source: Samoa Observer)

AUSTRALIA'S SBS DROPS PACIFIC LANGUAGE PROGRAM — EXCEPT FOR SAMOAN

The Australian public broadcaster, SBS, is dropping a number of Pacific languages from its radio services.

Māori, Cook Islands Māori, Tongan and Fijian language programs will no longer be heard on services in Australia.

In a statement, the broadcaster said it's been reviewing its programs to ensure its services reflect Australia's rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society.

It said the languages no longer met the criteria that it imposed to warrant continued programming.

However the SBS's Samoan programs will remain.

The changes take effect from the November 20.

(Source: RNZI)

INTERIOR GRANTS $75,045 FOR AM. SAMOA PARKS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Thursday announced that $75,045 will be distributed to American Samoa for outdoor recreation and conservation projects from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is funded through offshore oil and gas leasing. This was part of $94.3 million distributed across all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

These funds are awarded through federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment in America’s state and local public parks.

 “The Land and Water Conservation Fund state grant program has been a resounding success that makes physical investments in our communities,” Secretary Zinke said. “From Detroit, Michigan, to Pago Pago, American Samoa, the program benefits citizens across the nation by helping state and local governments make infrastructure investments in urban, suburban, and rural parks. By advancing the Administration's offshore energy goals, we will be able to generate more revenue for the fund to improve conservation and recreation opportunities for generations to come."

The LWCF was established by Congress in 1965 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations. The funds enable state and local governments to improve existing parks and other recreation areas in their communities through rehabilitation and upgrade projects. These funds are also used to create new parks in places that have none and to develop and expand trail systems that link communities and add recreation opportunities.

Since the inception of the LWCF, more than $4.1 billion has been made available to state and local governments to fund more than 42,000 projects throughout the nation. 

(Source: DOI media release)

NORTH KOREAN OFFICIAL SAYS H BOMB POSSIBLE IN PACIFIC

The North Korean foreign minister says his government may consider testing a hydrogen bomb of unprecedented scale in the Pacific ocean.

Ri Yong Ho was speaking in New York to reporters from South Korea's Yonhap news agency who asked him to clarify a threat made by his leader against the United States.

Kim Jong-un had warned of the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history."

Mr Ri said North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test, although he qualified this by saying he did not know Kim's exact thoughts.

(Source: RNZI)

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