8 May 2006

Niue MP speaks out about the island's secret logging deal

8:30 pm on 8 May 2006

A deal between Malaysian loggers and the Niue government is concerning the opposition which believes it's surrounded by secrecy and could end up destroying one of the country's few resources.

An opposition MP, Terry Coe, says the premier, Young Vivian, did not inform the assembly that he had already signed a contract when the issue came up for discussion last week.

He says the premier only admitted it in a public broadcast on the weekend when he said the Malaysian loggers could be in the country within the next month.

Mr Coe says people are opposed to the idea and they do not know what the contract contains.

"We won't know how much more is at stake and what the document looks like until he shows it. So, it's put away somewhere and nobody's allowed to have a look at it. Usually it's very hard to get the contract presented in the House but the cabinet paper that actually approves that contract, we should be able to see that."

Mr Coe says the high deficit faced by the government could be one reason the deal has been done.

He says he's also concerned about it going through because the country does not have the capacity to ensure the logging is carried out in a sustainable manner.