Poll shows daylight savings popular

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 27 September 2019, 12:00PM

Survey data shows that a majority of Samoans remain in favour of the annual daylight savings change. 

Conducted by the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour in 2018, the survey concluded that Daylight Saving Time (D.S.T.) is considered favourable for the development of Samoa and as such should continue. 

According to the survey, questionnaires received from members of the public showed that 611 of 1110 respondents were in favour of the D.S.T.. 

“Those that support D.S.T. are in business ventures such as restaurants, recreational services, petrol stations and retailers,” the research concluded.  

“Their main reason for supporting this activity is due to the longer hours of the afternoon for guests to socialise in restaurants, more clients and also beneficial with extra time for sports activities.”

As for the 499 who were against the initiative, they were mainly concerned about the start time for schools. Most stated that D.S.T. is an unsafe proposal for children who catch a bus early in the morning. 

The survey also found that workers were always late, due to ensuring that their children were safely in school and ended up getting stuck in traffic in the mad rush of the morning. 

“Many stated that their lateness was due to the change in time that the schools started (late) because of D.S.T. while some would blame the transportation system,” the survey found. 

“The late arrival attitude by staff and early to leave to catch their buses home translated to slow performance and lost productivity. 

“Others stated that instead of their electricity expenses reducing, it actually increased electricity consumed due to preparing the school children and workers early morning.”

In 2011, a year after D.S.T. was implemented, the Government had to change the time for schools to allow students to finish at 2.00pm so they could catch an earlier bus to ensure they arrived home before dark. 

According to the survey results, there has been a demonstrated shift of public opinion: while D.S.T. enjoyed 61 per cent support in 2014, last year the support dropped to 55 per cent. 

“This indicated that most of the public still support D.S.T. while some had a change of view over the past three years," the research said. 

“The benefits of D.S.T. for consumers are primarily lifestyle driven. 

“That is, providing longer daylight for activities including exercise, gardening and socialising with friends.”

Benefits for businesses were split between those with outdoor activities for their clients, while those with indoor activities due to the nature of their work were not in support of the change.

There is a strong opposition from consumers and businesses who experienced little benefit of D.S.T.. 

The survey found that the public felt that there were no benefits in terms of saving energy, as similar amount of energy was utilised in the early hours of the morning to prepare children for school. 

On Wednesday, members of the public who spoke to the Samoa Observer indicated that the change in time hasn’t had any impact on their lives. 

Businessman Aiono Afaese Toleafoa said while it hasn’t changed cash flow for his businesses, D.S.T. has given him more time to exercise. 

While a farmer from Saanapu, Leaana Utosena Fealofai, said time had very little to do with his lifestyle and it was all about the mindset. 

“If you were born lazy then the daylight saving is of no use to you because you finish work early and you go home and sleep,” he said. 

Some of the reasons behind the Government initiative was to enhance energy efficiency, boost leisure activities, promote public health and increase economic growth. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 27 September 2019, 12:00PM

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