23 May 2019

Niue premier defends awarding of controversial parliament contract

3:21 pm on 23 May 2019

Niue's Premier, Sir Toke Talagi, has confirmed there was no open tender for a multi-million parliament building funded by New Zealand.

Toke Talagi

Sir Toke Talagi Photo: RNZ/ Indira Stewart

The comment comes as confusion surrounds work on the new Fale Fono, which is being challenged in Niue's High Court.

Plans for the new parliament, for which New Zealand is contributing $US3.3 million, were pushed forward by Niue's cabinet in April and first reported by RNZ Pacific on Monday.

But it's being fought by opposition MP Terry Coe, who is seeking a court injunction to stop work over what he says was improper tendering.

Under Niuean law, government contracts worth $US6,550 must be publicly tendered and advertised.

On Wednesday, Sir Toke Talagi said the contract was approved by cabinet in a selective procurement process.

In comments sent to the governmnent-owned broadcaster TV Niue, he said the contractor's proven track record was taken into account.

Sir Toke said the company, DTB Construction, had also successfully built a new supermarket and museum in Niue.