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Marian Hobbs to visit Tonga and Niue

Marian Hobbs to visit Tonga and Niue

Aid Minister Marian Hobbs leaves tonight for Niue where she will represent New Zealand at Saturday's annual constitution celebrations (Sunday NZ time), marking the introduction of self-government in free association with New Zealand on October 19, 1974.

The minister will also visit Tonga tomorrow to launch a review of the Tongan education sector.

The trip will be the minister's first opportunity to see at first hand New Zealand's development assistance activities in the Pacific. Since July 1 they have been delivered by NZAID, the New Zealand Agency for International Development. NZAID Executive Director, Peter Adams, will accompany the minister.

"I'm looking forward to seeing on the ground the support that NZAID is providing in fields ranging from education systems to agriculture," Marian Hobbs said.

She will return to New Zealand on Tuesday on a special Polynesian Airlines flight, a forerunner to a regular weekly service to Niue beginning later this month on Polynesian's Auckland-Apia route.

"Re-instatement of a regular jet service is a major breakthrough for Niue," Marian Hobbs said. "It will enable Niue to build a sustainable tourism industry and boost confidence in the country's future."

NZAID provides annual support of $5.6 million to Tonga and $6.25 million to Niue.

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