4 Jun 2021

Niue's Crossley looks for fundamental economic change

9:07 pm on 4 June 2021

The Niue Finance Minister says fundamental economic changes are needed in the wake of the pandemic.

Crossley Tatui has just released his Budget and says the impact of Covid-19 allows the island a chance to rethink, reset and rebuild its reslience.

One of the first things he wants to do is remove unsustainable policies which he said Niue can no longer afford.

One such is the move by the previous government to put public servants on four-day weeks for five days' pay in lieu of a pay rise.

Niue Finance Minister, Crossley Tatui

Niue Finance Minister, Crossley Tatui Photo: Niue Govt

"Going back to five days wouldn't save any costs at all but it will, or it should, improve productivity across the public service and for the country as a whole, and that should count towards the effort of rebuilding our economy," he said.

Tatui said they will be looking at wage disparaties which arise from this.

He said there are also plans for the strengthening of public institutions and this is a consideration currently before the Constitution Review Committee.

Tatui also indicated the government is looking at charging for water for the first time, and may bring in charges for other services. "I think we have had free water service for a long time and it's time that we now sit down and seriously think about introducing some of these user pay fees for the public to pay for the goods and the services they receive from the government."

Establishing a Niue superannuation fund is also being looked at.