9 Apr 2003

Niue to demolish derelict houses

10:34 am on 9 April 2003

The Niue government wants to bulldoze dozens of derelict empty houses on the island.

There are around 350 empty houses on Niue where the resident population is around 1500.

The Premier, Young Vivian, says he has asked Niueans living overseas to repair their houses or give the government permission to tear them down.

Most of the houses were built with New Zealand aid after cyclones battered the island in 1959 and 1960, but Mr Vivian says many are rotten and leaking.

He says the decaying asbestos roofs pose further concerns.

Mr Vivian says the government would like the island tidied so it is not a tourist eyesore, but he says the main motivation is to help restore pride in the villages.

"Beautification is one of the things I'm pushing for the villages because I think that's the key for people to want to live in the villages, want to stay in their villages because these are important institutions, these are institutions that keep the values and traditions and culture of the country."