28 Sep 2004

New Zealand Cabinet Minister says Niue can achieve economic independence with New Zealand help

6:18 pm on 28 September 2004

New Zealand's economic development minister Jim Anderton says his Ministry can help Niue achieve economic independence.

He has just been to the island with associate foreign affairs Minister Marian Hobbs, ahead of a visit next month by the Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Mr Anderton says while the devastation caused by last January's Cyclone Heta will take years to overcome, it provides an opportunity for a new start for Niue.

He says he was impressed with the projects in fishing and agriculture set up by Auckland firm Reef Shipping, and the enthusiasm of local business operators given the trauma they had gone through.

He says there has never been a long term economic plan for Niue, but they now have a platform to help establish strategic economic independence.

"and the way forward is really for the development of the infrastructure of Niue and the private sector initiatives that can make Niue economically independent. And the Ministry of Economic Development and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise can play the same role there as they do in New Zealand's regions where we have special concerns, special competitive advantages or disadvantages"