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ALOFI, Niue (June 4, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Two New Zealand consultants are investigating the establishment of a national trust fund for Niue, similar to the successful ones operated in Tuvalu and Kiribati.

Tentative plans call for the Niue government to invest a substantial fund deposit to demonstrate its commitment to the development project, The Niue Economic Review reports.

Assistance from other neighboring donors is not guaranteed. Although New Zealand is likely to contribute to a base fund, it is understood that Australia and other potential Asia-Pacific region donor countries may not support the idea.

To function successfully, a Niue trust fund would require initial funding of about $US 25 million. It also would need to be managed by personnel independent from government.

Potentially, interest earned from the fund could cover the Niue government's annual operating expenses.

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