9 May 2006

Niue premier defends contract with Malaysian firm to log the island's forest

6:05 pm on 9 May 2006

The Premier of Niue, Young Vivian, has defended plans to invite Malaysian loggers to harvest some of the island's forest.

He says the intention is for the company to export timber and re-start a furniture factory on the island.

Niue opposition MP, Terry Coe, says there is anger in the community about the plan which, he says, was only publicly revealed at the weekend.

But Mr Vivian denies this.

He says it has been a topic of discussion for a couple of years.

Mr Vivian says a section of the forest was destroyed by Cyclone Heta in January 2004 and it needs to be taken care of.

"We need to get the young trees to grow up again. We need to take away the invasive species that are covering the canopy of the forest, and we need to replant. It's a resource that we have always had and we have always been advised in the past to make use of it."