29 Jan 2004

Niue to focus on rebuilding first with aid package

11:33 am on 29 January 2004

Niue's finance minister Toke Talagi says the Niue and New Zealand governments have agreed on how an initial aid package from New Zealand will be spent.

Mr Talagi met several New Zealand Cabinet Ministers, including the deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen and the Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

New Zealand has already given 5 million New Zealand dollars to Niue, and more aid is expected once a full needs assessment is complete.

Mr Talagi says of the grant, one-point-five-million dollars will go towards re-housing government workers.

He says the houses may be located on the workers' own land and they may eventually be able to rent to buy the houses.

Mr Talagi says another million dollars will go to re-starting private business.

"We've also explained to the New Zealand government that our philosophy in respect to the private sector is that we would like to utilise these funds to get the private sector businesses up and running again rather than to focus so much on the claims and on the damages that have been incurred to their businesses. We consider that the damages and the claims are important but we consider that it is even more important for us to help them get up and running again and earn some income form their businesses."

Niue's finance minister Toke Talagi