8 Jul 2002

Niue defers Budget while it tries to trim costs

4:19 pm on 8 July 2002

The Niue Government has dismissed as speculation reports that government workers face wage cuts in the midst of a projected budget blowout.

The Budget was to be tabled this week, but has been deferred while efforts are made to reduce the deficit.

Opposition MPs say, among other things, the Government is considering cutting the wages of public employees by 20 percent.

The Finance Minister Toke Talagi agrees this is one of a number of options, but he says nothing has been decided.

He says he has asked Departmental Heads to look again at the Budget to see where savings can be made.

Mr Talagi says the Government is trying to manage the budget in a disciplined fashion to ensure the country doesn't get into strife.

Opposition MP O'love Jacobsen says the Government has few choices and will have to take tough action.

"...people are going to suffer, and I don't think people here fully appreciate what is going to happen, until it happens"