27 May 2010

New Zealand to foot bill for ridding Niue of asbestos

2:19 pm on 27 May 2010

The New Zealand government is paying for the removal of asbestos from Niue's derelict houses.

Niue's Health Minister says the houses, which were built in the 1950s after a hurricane, are both a health risk and an eyesore.

O'Love Jacobsen she's very happy with New Zealand's decision to manage the 400,000 dollar removal operation as part of a wider tourism plan for the island.

She says the asbestos is being disposed of through a special facility in New Zealand and will hopefully be off-island by September.

"Roughly we're looking at this stage about 30 to 40 container loads but we're also considering the asbestos that's still lying around on the ground. It's going to make the place look really good."

O'Love Jacobsen says by the end of this week her government will know how many court applications it needs to make to remove houses belonging to people who've not responded to the request for demolition.