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ALOFI, Niue (August 22, 2002 – Radio New Zealand International)---The Niue government hopes to complete a deal within the next day or so for a direct air link to New Zealand.

Officials from the Samoan government owned airline, Polynesian, are expected on Niue tomorrow to finalize details for a service that acting Premier, Toke Talagi, says is vital to maintain tourism and trade.

Currently, Niue’s only air link is a twice-weekly flight in a small turbo prop plane to Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

The deal with Polynesian has been brokered with the help of the New Zealand government aid agency, NZ AID.

The New Zealand government has also agreed to help with funding, though High Commissioner John Bryan says no figure has been set.

He says New Zealand will help with some aspects of the air operation and such things as an airport upgrade.

It is hoped that the airline will be flying into Niue by the time of the island’s Constitution Celebrations on October 19th.

For additional reports from Radio New Zealand International, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio New Zealand International.

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