17 Apr 2003

Doubt cast on Niue's bid to hold 2004 Pacific Forum summit

4:34 pm on 17 April 2003

Niue's chances of hosting next year's Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting appear to be hanging in the balance with questions being raised about the island's ability to cope with an influx of more than 300 people.

While Niue's premier Young Vivian remains confident this August's Forum meeting in Auckland will confirm his country's bid, he lacks the support of numerous politicians both at home and abroad.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has suggested in a letter to Forum country leaders that Fiji should be the summit's venue on alternate years.

And Niue's former Premier Sani Lakatani says staging the Forum is beyond Niue's capabilities.

"I'd like very much for Niue to have it but they haven't the accommodation of course for three or 400 people and besides that, they haven't got the money to finance the forum being held in Niue, .... so with problems like that I don't think Niue can cope with it."

Sani Lakatani