17 Jul 2002

Niue Government looking at multi million dollar from Korean business men

5:27 pm on 17 July 2002

The Government of Niue, which is struggling to solve a financial crisis, is considering a multi million dollar investment offer made by a group of South Korean business people.

The Deputy Premier Sani Lakatani says the offer is to buy from the Government, the island's two hotels, the Matavai Resort and the Niue Hotel.

He says the offer would also include a guaranteed air service, with the Korean group saying they are willing to buy a jet which would be used exclusively to service Niue.

Mr Lakatani has just returned from the United States where he held talks with Korean Chris Hong, the man who set up a medical school on the island two years ago.

The school, which was based at the Niue Hotel, catered mostly for aspiring doctors from Asia and the Middle East.

It never had more than a handful of students and failed after several months of operation.

However the new offer is to re-establish and expand the medical school.

Mr Lakatani says he has been told that Mr Hong has the full backing of a committed group of investors ready to invest around 50 million US dollars in Niue.

He says they will check out the bona fides of the group, but the offer may be the miracle that Niue needs.

It comes after the Government delayed last week's tabling of the Budget because the country faces a prohibitive deficit.

Mr Lakatani says departments are still considering how to make savings of around 20 percent.