15 Jun 2010

Niue premier says budget reflects new approach

3:32 pm on 15 June 2010

The premier of Niue has toned down his criticism of New Zealand in this year's budget statement but insists the island has stagnated because funds weren't released to it.

Toke Talagi was critical of New Zealand in his budget statement last year, saying Wellington could not be depended on to provide project funding to help build the island's economy.

The relationship has since improved and this year he says Niue's grateful to New Zealand for its support, though he says it's been unable to develop as quickly as it could've done because it couldn't access funds.

Mr Talagi says this 15-million US dollar budget should reassure people his government is managing its finances, and conceded it was important to keep talking with its biggest aid donor.

"I suppose in some respects I've got to start looking at some tactical, strategic things that we need to do. We've got to start changing the way that we talk to each other and that's part of the reasons why this statement, if you wish, is looking for engagements on better terms."

The premier of Niue, Toke Talagi.