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NZ contributions to Niue and Tokelau trust funds

15 July 2004

Media Statement

NZ contributions to Niue and Tokelau trust funds

New Zealand would contribute a total of $15 million to the trust funds of Niue ($7.5 million) and Tokelau ($7.5 million), Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

"These contributions, made through our international aid and development agency, NZAID, demonstrate the special relationship New Zealand has with two of our smallest Pacific neighbours," Marian Hobbs said. "The trust fund mechanism is designed to provide long-term reliable income streams for these countries and gradually lessen the dependence on outside assistance.

"Given the special difficulties of remoteness and lack of natural resources for Tokelau and Niue, and indeed for many Pacific Island microstates, the support New Zealand provides is especially important.

"It is desirable to make sizeable contributions in the early stages of these sort of funds, so that they can start delivering returns as soon as possible, hence the large contributions we are making this year. We also want to encourage other donors to contribute to the funds, and must lead the way and show how important these sorts of initiatives are to small Pacific nations.

"In the case of Niue, New Zealand made a $5 million contribution at the time of establishment, Australia also made a $4 million contribution and the balance of the trust fund currently stands at $9.8 million. New Zealand and Tokelau have so far contributed $8 million dollars to the Tokelau fund."

The Ulu of Tokelau, Faipule Pio Tuia said: "Tokelau welcomes this New Zealand contribution both for what it does to the value of the fund, but also for the wonderful example it sets to other nations. The trust fund is important for what it represents in terms of Tokelau’s move towards greater self-reliance and for the inter-generational security it will give us in the years ahead."

Since 1974 Niue has been self-governing in free association with New Zealand, a status distinct from full independence. New Zealand has a statutory obligation under the Niue Constitution Act 1974 "to provide necessary economic and administrative assistance to Niue". Niue manages its own affairs in all respects except foreign affairs and defence. All Niueans are New Zealand citizens.

Tokelau is administered by New Zealand, but in 1994 these powers were delegated locally. In 2003 Tokelau assumed full responsibility for managing its budget and is now, with New Zealand, working towards self-determination.

ENDS

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