14 Jan 2004

New Zealand foreign minister re-states commitment to rebuilding cyclone-hit Niue

12:00 pm on 14 January 2004

The New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff, has re-stated his commitment to rebuild Niue which suffered huge damage in last week's cyclone.

Mr Goff, who visited Niue yesterday, says efforts have to be made to retain the population.

"The people have to believe that there is a future, that they will go on making the efforts. The spirits are quite high but things could go either way. If people talk down the way one or two newspaper reporst did in New Zealand, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we believe and the people of Niue and the government of Niue believe that it really is critical to keep a living community on Niue for the sake of its unique language and its culture."

The government of French Polynesia has pledged around one million US dollars to rebuild homes on Niue.

The move comes after the territory's vice-president, Edouard Fritch, visited Niue.

Niue's High Commissioner in New Zealand, Hima Takelesi, says work should begin within a month.

They have pledged that they will provide 20 new houses to replace the houses that were damaged and they would like to start work on that within three to four weeks.