PROGRESS IN NIUE-NEW ZEALAND TALKS

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ALOFI, Niue (March 25, 2001 - Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)---New Zealand has been encouraging Niue to keep within its fiscal budget, aim for improved performance in the public service, and encourage new local businesses.

Senior foreign affairs officials seem pleased with the progress being made in these areas, following a joint consultative group meeting in Wellington last week.

Niue officials met with New Zealand Foreign Affairs officers after attending the opening of the island's high commission office.

The joint consultative group was set up in 1999 in a bid to resolve New Zealand’s and Niue's future constitutional relationship.

The group also supports the island's effort to become less aid reliant on New Zealand.

"Niue's future constitutional status was discussed and Niueans have made an overwhelming decision that the status quo of self government in free association should remain," said a department spokesperson.

It is understood that New Zealand wants to restrict its annual aid budget to a fixed amount and control more closely funding for special projects.

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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