7 Feb 2007

Opposition call for Niue government cuts

4:43 pm on 7 February 2007

There are calls for Niue to make cuts in government programmes before it puts its staff on four-day weeks.

The island is battling to reduce a budget shortfall of about one million US dollars.

The government is planning to put workers on a four-day week, while politicians will also have their salaries cut.

But opposition MP, Terry Coe, says before that happens, stipends for pastors should be wiped and Niue should pull out of regional bodies such as the University of the South Pacific and the Forum Fisheries Agency.

He also says the government could end grants for beautification to village councils and stop ministers from travelling overseas.

"Although they say it doesn't cost anything they still get their per diems and their allowances and for the premier and the ministers this amounts to between four and six thousand [New Zealand] dollars per week when they travel overseas. So if we stopped the travel there would be big savings."

Terry Coe