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March 23, 2007, New Zealand - "More daylight saving likely next summer",
By DAN EATON - The Press

The Government favours extending daylight saving in time for next summer.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen signalled the change after a 42,000-signature petition calling for a three-week extension was delivered to Parliament by a Nelson City councillor.

Cullen said the Government did not yet have a policy to extend daylight saving, but Prime Minister Helen Clark's favourable public statements this month were a good indication that change was coming.

"Obviously there is a process to be gone through here, both in terms of internal consultations and external consultations," he said. "But I would certainly hope a decision could be taken in time for the coming summer season."

Cullen was responding to a question in the House from United Future leader Peter Dunne, who accepted the petition from Cr Mark Holmes on the steps of Parliament.

New Zealand First MP Doug Woolerton asked for assurances that farmers would be consulted if an extension was considered.

Cullen said the dairy industry, which would be most affected, had shown much less concern than it had in the past.

In receiving the petition, which calls for summer time to begin on the last Sunday in September and end on the first Sunday in April, Dunne said his office had fielded thousands of emails supporting an extension to daylight saving.

Holmes said: "As New Zealanders, we've got to use daylight to its maximum. We've got to move forward as other countries have.

"These 42,000 signatures are only a small portion of the nationwide support."

Clark said on March 12 that Cabinet consideration of an extension was "really a question of how much".

A poor start to summer this year brought the issue to the fore. New Zealand's daylight saving period runs for just 24 weeks.

The United States recently announced it was going to 34 weeks to cut fuel consumption and help the environment. Canada has 33 weeks, Europe 31 and Britain 29.

Supporters of an extension, which would not require legislation, say it would help the economy, save power and encourage tourism.

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