7 May 2011

Samoa to switch time zones in 2012

5:23 am on 7 May 2011

The Samoa government has announced the country is switching time zones.

Samoa sits to the east of the international dateline, meaning that it is 11 hours behind GMT, and a day behind New Zealand and Australia.

The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, says his cabinet agreed to drafting legislation this week to make the change.

The new time zone will be trialled in December but officially start in January 2012, putting Samoa on the same day as New Zealand and Australia.

Tuila'epa says the move has been made because Samoa has an increase in commercial and economic dealings with New Zealand and Australia as well as several Asian countries.

A report tabled in cabinet reveals Samoa had the same date as that of New Zealand, but it was changed due to a request by some American businessmen in 1892.

Tuila'epa says it's more appropriate for his country to go back to the original time zone not only to improve business trade, but because many Samoans now reside in New Zealand and Australia.