9 May 2006

Niue MP opposes cabinet signing logging contract with Malaysians

9:55 am on 9 May 2006

There is concern on Niue that a contract that's been signed with Malaysian loggers could destroy the country's forest.

An opposition MP, Terry Coe, says there's been no public consultation over the decision by the cabinet to allow the loggers in nor has the contract been made available for people to comment on so it's not known whether it's sustainable or not.

He says the deal is probably going ahead because the governemnt is facing financial difficulties over a high deficit.

Mr Coe says not even members of the assembly were told by the premier, Young Vivian, about what was happening.

"The premier's, of course, the chairman of cabinet and the other three members have agreed to it so that's how it got passed. They signed it without even informing the Niue assembly which had been meeting last week, prior to the signing. So, he didn't even let the members of the assembly know what was going on."

Mr Coe says there are no resources or capacity on the island to check that the logging is carried out in a sustainable manner.

He says they will attempt to get the numbers to put a motion of no confidence in the premier but the assembly is not due to meet for another six weeks and the loggers could be in the country before then.