3 Nov 2006

Niue considers alternatives to court for resolving land disputes

11:38 am on 3 November 2006

There are calls for new approaches to dealing with land disputes on Niue amid a week of tension on the island.

Judge Heta Hingston from New Zealand is on Niue for a week as part of a six monthly circuit, hearing dozens of disputes over land boundaries and titles.

Premier Young Vivian wants more of the preliminary work taken out of the court system, an idea backed by Ahohiva Levi of the Niue NGO association.

Mr Levi says people need to talk through compromises because if they rely solely on the courts some will be winners and some losers.

And opposition MP O'Love Jacobsen says there also needs to be a mechanism to revisit controversial decisions by the court.

"And if there are cases that are tough and families still feel they are hard done by they should be able to go to another level where they can draw in local resources and I think it would be nice to have someone neutral, a person from New Zealand or a person from within the region, and then you have a whole lot of advisors from on the island and understand the situation."