19 May 2020

Record numbers lining up for seats in Niue's parliament

1:19 pm on 19 May 2020

A record 26 candidates are seeking the six common roll seats in the Niue parliament when voters go to the polls on 30 May.

This beats the previous record, set at the 2017 election, of 23 candidates.

Fale fono, Niue

Fale fono, Niue Photo: RNZ/ Sally Round

Another 28 are seeking the 14 village seats, with three of those effectively already won with the sitting member running unopposed.

They are Talaititama Talaiti in Vaiea, Mona Ainu'u in Tuapa village and one of the longest serving MPs, Jack Lipitoa, continuing in Namakulu.

One of those contesting for the first time is former telecom company chief executive and later Secretary to Government, Richard Hipa.

Mr Hipa said he was passionate about Niue and to see it thrive he wanted co-ordinated long term policies to attract the island's educated young home.

"We have policies at the moment that are a bit fragmented, like immediate short term but we need to combine all the policies with regard to the young people, education and all," he said.

"At the moment we have the Students Agreement. We need to fulfil the obligations and terms and conditions of that agreement, employment security and employment, once they return," Mr Hipa said.

Another prospective newcomer is former Wellington mayor and MP, Mark Blumsky, who rateed himself an outside chance, given the competitive line up.

Mr Blumsky said Niue faced some big decisions on how to get itself in shape.

He said, with his experience, which included a term as New Zealand High Commissioner, he felt he might be of some help.

"You look at the challenges, not just here but all around the world, actually, and you see that the world has been turned upside down and you think, well, maybe I can help, maybe I can add some value."

Young Vivian, who was Premier for six years untill 2008 and then failed to hold his seat at the 2017 election, is contesting a common seat this poll.

Asked why he wanted to get back into Niue politics...

"Because we have lost the plot", Mr Vivian said.

"I need to excite my people and also I need to give them passion and hope for the future," he said.

Mr Vivian said Niueans these days didn't have the spirit that had built the nation.

"That is lacking and it's needed from time to time to encourage our people to have that passion and have that excitement," he said.