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ALOFI, Niue (June 15, 2000 – Niue Economic Review)---Niueans and other Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand have received a major social and economic boost from the Labour/Alliance coalition budget released by Finance Minister Dr. Michael Cullen. And over the next four years spending aimed at social and economic development programs for Maori and Pacific Islanders will total NZ$ 243 million (US$ 116,032,500).

Education and employment were the major winners, with funding windfalls for bold, grassroots initiatives.

As well as the NZ$ 243 million (US$ 116,032,500) earmarked for education, health, housing and community development, spending to the tune of more than NZ$ 340 million (US$ 162,350,000) will benefit Maori and Pacific peoples over the next four years.

Some NZ$ 114 million (US$ 54,435,000) has been allocated to allow Maori and Pacific peoples to design and deliver their own development initiatives.

Nearly NZ$ 30 million (US$ 14,325,000) over the next year has been allocated for Maori and Pacific communities to devise their own economic and social programs. ‘Whanau’ (family), ‘hapu’ (subtribal) and ‘iwi’ (tribal) groups will also get more than NZ $20 million (US$ 9,550,000) over the next four years to strengthen their development as providers of job services.

More than NZ$ 7 million (US$ 3,342,500) will provide extra places in Pacific early-childhood centers over the next four years.

Maori and Pacific Islanders will get special help to solve housing problems through a NZ$ 21.6 million (US$ 10,314,000) four-year pilot scheme involving six housing zones in rural and urban areas.

The NZ$ 55 million (US$ 26,262,500) allocated over the next year for income-related rents for low-income state tenants will also contribute to closing the gaps. Pacific peoples' organizational development will receive NZ $7.1 million (US$ 3,390,250) over four years to help with administration, leadership training, information technology and infrastructure development.

For additional reports from the Niue Economic Review, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Magazines/Journals/Niue Economic Review.

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