22 Dec 2010

Niue leader points to NZ officials for lack of economic progress

2:02 pm on 22 December 2010

The premier of Niue says the biggest impediment to growth on the island is the unwillingness of New Zealand government officials to give projects the green light.

A New Zealand parliamentary committee report, which says Niue is fragile and economically unviable, has called for major changes in the relationship.

But Premier Toke Talagi contends the island is viable and will flourish if planned tourism developments proceed.

He says, while Niue is about to sign a new expanded air services agreement with Air New Zealand, Wellington is frustrating attempts to provide more tourist accommodation.

"If we were working to a business plan and we agreed that we would build so many units a year and link that to the air services agreement then we shouldn't have any problems, but at the present moment, even after six years since Cyclone Heta, no new accommodation units have been built, nothing."