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Samoa to tamper with time, shift dateline

Published: 3:06PM Tuesday December 20, 2011 Source: ONE News

Samoa will change its dateline next week, skipping a day to move into the same timezone as New Zealand, Australia and new business partners in Asia.

The shift is aimed at improving the Samoan economy, ONE News Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver explained to TV ONE's Breakfast.

"It's mainly to keep in line with New Zealand, Australia and Asia - who they're developing business links with. The Prime Minister says they're actually losing two days of business, and that it's just not good for tourism," said Dreaver.

"They will have Thursday 29th December, skip a day and join us on Saturday 31st. Just to make it more complicated, it happens on their 29th, but on our 30th."

However opinion is divided about the move, with some politicians questioning the change and asking for proof that it will in fact benefit the economy.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi has responded by calling politicians that are critical of the plan "stupid idiots" and insisting that things will go ahead according to schedule.

"The prime minister is quite authoritarian ... He is saying that this is the way it is going to go, and it will," says Dreaver.

"Some people are a wee bit upset that they're going to miss their birthday and Seventh Day Adventists are against it because they celebrate their Sabbath on Friday when the sun goes down, and their not going to have a Friday that week."

Shifting datelines is not a common practice, but the move isn't setting any precedents as Kiribati changed their dateline in 1995 because it cut the country in half.

Tonga also skipped forward an hour before the millennium, so that they could be the first in the world to see in the year 2000.

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