15 Oct 2009

NZ foreign minister opts for tourism in aiding Niue

2:14 pm on 15 October 2009

The New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully calls a report on how to develop tourism on Niue refreshing and unvarnished, and one which will call for brave decisions by both governments.

It details what is needed to ensure a flourishing tourism industry, and Mr McCully will discuss the options with the Niue Government when he visits the island next week for its Constitution Day celebrations.

Mr McCully says having the report done was an attempt to break a longstanding impasse between Wellington and the island, and he warned the Niue Premier, Toke Talagi, there was likely to be bad news in the report for both of them.

He says it calls for Niue to create an enabling environment while New Zealand will be called on to finance hotel development.

"But I have taken the view that if New Zealand doesn't make an investment in the successful establishment of a tourism industry in Niue, then we are destined to write substantial aid cheques for Niue into the future. Last year we spent about twenty million dollars [New Zealand] in aid in Niue, that is about 20,000 dollars per man, woman and child. I don't think that is the way forward in the relationship."

Murray McCully, the New Zealand foreign minister