26 Jun 2007

Niue plans to pass budget worth US $16m in one week

2:14 pm on 26 June 2007

The Niue Government plans to pass its budget, worth 16 million US dollars, in one sitting this week.

New Zealand will contribute 5.5 million US dollars to the recurrent budget and 2.3 million dollars for special projects which include airline subsidies, asset management and replacement, and support for NGOs.

Consumers can expect a rise of 10 cents a unit of electricity to pay for mounting diesel generating costs and the Finance Minister, Fisa Pihigia, has said he's considering dropping a fortnightly benefit to those residents between the ages of 51 and 60.

430 public servants, who had their wages cut 10 percent earlier this year, will have that restored next month.

Previous dicussions on user pays policies in health and education have been shelved with a general election facing the government in March next year.

Commentators on the island say the new budget is one and a half million dollars less than the previous year's and after massive blowouts this year, Niue, which has a resident population of 1,200, is becoming more heavily reliant on New Zealand aid.