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ALOFI, Niue (September 2, 1997 - PACNEWS)---The Niue Legislative Assembly has cleared the way for an increase in cabinet ministers' annual salary levels.

During debate over the budget, the majority of the Assembly's members voted to increase salaries to $30,600 a year.

The current annual salary level paid cabinet members is $18,500. With the increase recommended by both Premier Frank Lui and the Niue Public Service Commission, the new annual salary level will increase by 65.5 percent, or $12,100.

If the projected increase is formally adopted, it will make it the largest government pay increase in the history of Niue.

Meantime, Niue's only woman cabinet minister, O'love Jacobson, has criticized the level of aid New Zealand provides the island country.

Jacobson, during the budget debate, said New Zealand's aid assistance to Niue is disproportionate to the contribution Niuean workers make to the New Zealand economy.

Alluding to the 15,000 Niueans who live and work in New Zealand, compared to the some 2,000 on the island, she says the assistance New Zealand provides Niue should be significantly larger.

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