18 Oct 2002

New Zealand aid minister visits Niue

11:49 am on 18 October 2002

The New Zealand minister in charge of aid, Marion Hobbs, has left for Tonga and Niue where she will represent New Zealand at this weekend's annual constitution celebrations.

Ms Hobbs is accompanied by Dr Peter Adams, the head of NZAID, the agency set up in July to deliver development assistance.

The minister is due to return on a special Polynesian Airlines flight which is a forerunner to a new direct jet link between the island and Auckland.

She says the direct air service is a breakthrough for Niue which has been supported by her government.

"In terms of Niue's economy and also in providing an incentive for people to remain on Niue. We worked with Polynesian Airlines and Niue to get a five-year commitment. New Zealand aid funded 250-thousand an up-front one-off payment by Niue to the airline."