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Aid for Niue - but none for Ngahere, Ngawi...

20 January, 2004

Aid for Niue - but none for Ngahere, Ngawi...

The Green Party is congratulating the Government on putting together an aid package to keep Niue functioning as a viable community but wants to know why it isn't doing the same for small-town New Zealand.

"The Government quite rightly accepts its responsibility to help Niue climb back to a sustainable level," said Green Party Co-leader, Rod Donald. "The irony is that this Government's policies are ravaging our provincial communities every bit as comprehensively as Cyclone Heta devastated Niue.

"In the next ten years at least 500 schools are threatened with closure. Many of them have functioned as the cornerstone of their community for the last hundred years.

"Coupled with this, the Government is preparing a hit-list of hundreds of areas that it will label 'no-go' zones for people seeking work.

"By taking away a locality's schooling and by forbidding new blood to enter the area, the Government is effectively killing off those communities.

"The people of Niue are New Zealand citizens and New Zealand has a responsibility to look after them," Rod Donald said. "The people of Blackball, Murchison, Reporoa and the hundreds of other hit-listed communities are also New Zealand citizens and have every right to expect support from their own government.

"The Government's committed to helping Niue achieve self-reliance, it shouldn't be denying families in fragile rural communities the same aspiration."

ENDS

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