30 Jun 2004

Vanuatu PM blames UMP for poor image on rural policies

1:41 pm on 30 June 2004

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, says the Union of Moderate Parties is to blame for a perception his Government has done little for rural communities.

After the last election two years, Mr Natapei put the emphasis on development in rural areas, but he says the lack of compatibility between the policies of the coalition partners led him to dump the UMP late last year.

Going into next Tuesday's poll Mr Natapei is promising improved services for the rural sector, but he says first they need to turn the economy around.

Mr Natapei says tourism is the best chance of this with Air Vanuatu introducing a second aircraft from July and increased flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

"which should improve the number of tourism arrivals in the country. So if we concentrate on trying to bring the tourists and generate more revenue for the government through tourism then we should be able to meet the other commitments for the rural communities."