2 Nov 2004

New Zealand Opposition criticises additional aid for Niue

5:17 pm on 2 November 2004

New Zealand's Opposition National Party has criticised the nearly 14 million US dollar aid package for Niue.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark announced the aid when she visited Niue at the weekend.

It is spread over five years, and is designed to ensure the Pacific Island's political, economic and cultural survival.

National's foreign affairs spokesman, Lockwood Smith, said it meant New Zealand taxpayers would subsidise each of the 1300 people living on Niue to the tune of about six and a half thousand US dollars a year.

He told the Herald newspaper that the move was nothing more than an election ploy by the Prime Minister to buy the votes of the 20,000 Niueans living in New Zealand.

Mr Smith said the country received five and a half million US dollars a year and the pledge to rebuild the hospital will come on top of that.