Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 04:48 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 04:48 | SYDNEY

Niue shines...and exports hit NZ$264,000


Jenny Hayward-Jones


19 August 2008 09:46

When I referred to the tiny Pacific island nation of Niue in a previous blog post, our esteemed editor told me he had never heard of the place. Located 2,400 kms northeast of New Zealand, Niue is a coral atoll with a land area of 260 sq km and a population of just 1,625 (according to the June 2006 census). Hosting the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Summit may not be up there with holding the Olympics but hosting 16 Pacific island leaders (minus Fiji this year), officials and media this week is Niue’s biggest event, ever. I thought it appropriate to recognise Niue’s day in the sun by highlighting a few interesting facts, courtesy of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

• Niue’s has an estimated GDP of NZ$17.2 million.
• Niue is a self-governing state ‘in free association’ with New Zealand.
• Niueans are also citizens of New Zealand. 
• The government is the main employer, with 421 employees on the payroll in 2006. There is no manufacturing sector. Exports, mainly of fish, taro, noni, honey and vanilla, totalled NZ$264,000 in 2006.
• The Niue Government has power to make its own laws but its constitution commits New Zealand to provide economic and administrative assistance to Niue.
• Niue holds elections for a 20 member Legislative Assembly every three years.
• Premier Toke Talagi was elected in June 2008 and appointed three other ministers to form the Cabinet.
• While high birth rates are a problem for many Pacific Island countries, Niue suffers from depopulation: 22,500 Niueans live in New Zealand and only 1,625 remain on the island.  
• Cyclone Heta in January 2004 caused extensive damage to Niue and led to questions about its long-term viability, which were resolved in part by the signing of a new Strengthened Cooperation Program with New Zealand.
• Australia, Niue and New Zealand are signatories of the Niue International Trust Fund Deed, which aims to provide a reliable long-term revenue stream for Niue.
• New Zealand’s aid to Niue in 2007/08 totalled NZ$9.1 million, NZ$7.1 million of which is budget support. Australia’s aid is approximately A$800,000.

We thought Nauru was aid dependent. Assuming the official population figure, New Zealand alone delivers NZ$5,600 (A$4,549) in aid per Niuean, almost twice what Nauru gets from Australia. Makes all the difference when it comes to buying enough white paint to touch up your island’s appearance.