NIUE PREMIER BALKS AT KIWI LEADER’S BUDGET QUERY

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Talagi says Prime Minister should have more trust

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 9, 2009) – Tension is building between New Zealand and Niue over questions of aid money and how it is spent.

The New Zealand Prime Minister made his first official visit to the tiny Pacific island nation during a goodwill tour of the region. But he had a tense meeting with Niue Premier Toke Talagi, during which Mr. Key asked the Premier for more detail on how aid money is being spent.

New Zealand is withholding a few million dollars in aid money that Mr. Talagi wants to spend on developing tourism.

Key wants the Premier to be more specific; Talagi says New Zealand should have more trust.

Niue does not have full independence. Niuans are New Zealand citizens and use New Zealand dollars.

Talagi says he might approach China for financial help.

Key's trip to Niue took a more light-hearted tone when he showed off his dancing skills alongside Miss Niue.

He jokingly asked media travelling with him not to broadcast the images of him dancing alongside the beauty queen.

Miss Niue, whose name is Vanessa Marsh, was recently crowned Miss South Pacific.

She says New Zealand's former prime minister Helen Clark was very popular in the Pacific, but John Key is more than welcome.

"I don't think we've had much experience with him other than our parliamentarians, but we are going to be extending to him the same warmth and hospitality that we did to Helen Clark when she visited us," she said.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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