1 Jun 2010

Niueans in New Zealand want explanation on island house demolitions

1:18 pm on 1 June 2010

Members of New Zealand's Niuean community want the island's government to explain why it's forging ahead with plans to demolish derelict houses, without more consultation.

Some home owners met with Niue's Health Minister, O'Love Jacobsen, in Auckland last month and believed they had time to decide what they wanted done with their family homes.

But Sione Paea Kumitau, whose Avatele house is to be demolished, says he's now heard the government is preparing to issue court orders.

"And all of a sudden this news came a couple of weeks ago, that the government is going to go ahead. What we need to do now is to go back to Niue and find out what's happening - why is the government going to go ahead without coming back to the people of those houses here in Auckland."

Sione Paea Kumitau says Niueans living in New Zealand are still entitled to their rights as home and landowners, even if they're absent.

The Niue government says some of the houses are a health hazard but it's believed the plan is part of a new and stronger push to develop tourism.