5 Mar 2007

Niue premier calls for private debts to be settled

4:57 pm on 5 March 2007

The premier of Niue, Young Vivian, has called for residents to pay back more than two million US dollars he says they owe the government.

Mr Vivian is facing a vote of no confidence over a financial crisis which last month saw salaries for public servants reduced by ten percent, as well as cuts in other government expenditure.

Mr Vivian says the island's plight would be further eased if residents paid for the assistance they hve received from the government over the years.

"For houses, for use of government machinery, for the use of television and broadcasting, for discing or ploughing agricultural land, for delivering containers from the wharf to the villages - all those things."

Mr Vivian says the vote of no confidence on March 7th is a distraction but he says if people recognise the need to work to together he will survive.