11 May 2011

Niue government to ask court to authorise demolition of derelict houses

6:38 pm on 11 May 2011

The Niue government later this month will ask the High Court to authorise the demolition of 76 derelict houses on the island.

The government has been cleaning up the island over the past two years and has pulled down some empty houses which posed a health and safety threat.

Many of the houses had taken a battering when Cyclone Heta hit Niue in 2004.

But protests from some absentee landowners had stalled the project.

The driving force behind the exercise had been former health minister and now high commissioner to Wellington, O'Love Jacobsen, and she says legal action was the only option left.

"There's just no other way that we can resolve this, apart from people giving consent, but they're a bit slow and forthcoming to do that, so eventually we have had to go to court, make application to court, so that we could put these - they are the most derelict of houses - down."

Niue's high commissioner to New Zealand, O'Love Jacobsen.