2 Jul 2007

Niue opposition predicts financial woes for government

3:38 pm on 2 July 2007

An Opposition MP in Niue says it will be difficult for the government to meet its commitment to balance the budget after an eight-percent lift in the public service wages bill.

Niue's budget for the coming year was passed at the weekend and sees modest cuts to some government programmes, except for pensions which will now not be paid until people reach 60 instead of the present 55.

A temporary ten percent cut to public service wages has now been restored but MP, Terry Coe, says an additional 400,000 US dollars on the wages bill will be difficult to cope with.

"And that is nothing to do with the ten percent. This is an actual increase the public service has given to some of the workers who didn't get a rise before. So how we are going to manage the fortnightly pays when we still have no cash reserves, I think they are going to find that very difficult."

Terry Coe