9 Aug 2002

Niue assembly short of quorum for sitting

12:00 pm on 9 August 2002

Niue's assembly failed to have a quorum for a sitting this morning and the speaker rescheduled the meeting for September the 5th.

This comes after yesterday's failure by the government to pass its budget, with the premier Young Vivian expressing optimism that he will have the numbers once four MPs return to Niue.

The deputy premier, Sani Lakatani, was part of the majority voting against the budget, prompting Mr Vivian to sack him.

The budget, which had already been delayed, contains cuts to child allowances, means tests for the pension, and cuts to grants for village councils and churches.

Mr Lakatani says he became increasingly angry in the lead-up to the vote, with comments on talk back radio that his government had caused the deficit through overspending.

"And that was led by the minister of finance implying to say that I was at fault, there was something wrong in the past. And I said every year in Niue we have always carried a heavy deficit of over a million dollars."

Sani Lakatani