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PM to attend Niue’s 30th anniversary celebrations

PM to attend Niue’s 30th anniversary celebrations

Prime Minister Helen Clark is attending the 30th anniversary celebrations of Niuean self-government during a visit to Niue next weekend.

The visit will include talks with Niue’s Premier, Young Vivian, attending a historic fono, or gathering, on the preservation and enhancement of Niue’s culture, and official celebration events.

The Prime Minister will also sign a Memorandum of Arrangement which reaffirms the special relationship between Niue and New Zealand, and puts in place a strengthened cooperation programme with the aim of achieving economic viability for Niue.

Helen Clark said New Zealand and Niue share citizenship and close bonds forged over more than a hundred years of association.

“Niue became a dependent territory of New Zealand in 1901. In 1974, following an act of self-determination under United Nations’ auspices, Niue adopted self-government in free association with New Zealand.

“The closeness of the relationship is demonstrated by the fact that Niue’s population is currently approximately 1500 while the Niuean community in New Zealand numbers around 20,000.

“But while New Zealand’s Niuean community is large and active, the wellspring of Niuean culture and language is the home island. It is important that we assist the Niue government’s efforts to maintain Niue’s distinct culture and language.

“The fono is an exciting initiative on the part of the Niue government. It involve the participation of New Zealand Niuean community leaders who will attend as part of the New Zealand delegation to the anniversary celebrations.

“The discussions will look at initiatives to protect and enhance Niuean culture and language following the devastating effects which last January’s Cyclone Heta has had on the Niue community.

“Large efforts have been made towards rebuilding, but there is still a great deal to do. We will discuss ways in which New Zealand might be able to help. There are some private investment initiatives getting under way, and tourism, which was showing such promise just before Heta, is also starting to pick up again.”

“Private sector investment will be a key to sustainable economic growth. There is a significant opportunity now to work with Niue to ensure its viability for the long-term. The Memorandum of Arrangement will put in place new initiatives costing around $20 million over five years.”

Through NZAID, Niue currently receives $8.25 million in assistance annually. This is focused on budgetary support, education, supporting economic development and encouraging sustainable use of Niue’s natural resources.

Since Cyclone Heta, Niue and New Zealand have been working together on the Cyclone Recovery Plan which prioritises construction of a new hospital, establishment of a trust fund, residential housing, tourism development and reinforcing Niue’s cultural heritage.

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