9 Feb 2007

Niue considers cutting public service working hours

2:44 pm on 9 February 2007

The Niue government says cutting grants to pastors and to villages for beautification will not solve the country's financial problems.

The government is looking to cut its spending by about one million US dollars and intends putting public servants on four-day weeks.

The finance minister, Fisa Pihigia, says suggestions by opposition MP, Terry Coe, that cuts should first be made in other areas, such as the pastors' grant, before cutting the workers' days, are merely political point scoring.

He says Niue's main problem is its large public service, and he wants to reduce spending through cutting hours, rather than laying off staff.

"Because we don't want to go down the road that we took in 1992 when we made people redundant. So at the moment, yes, we are taking that exercise, just for a short term, up to the end of June, then review and see where we are going from there."