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Critics point to more pressing needs at home

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Nov. 30, 2010) - The Niue government intends using money from its trust fund to buy a multi-million dollar property in Thorndon in central Wellington to provide accommodation for the high commissioner and office space for the island’s diplomats.

The government is selling a modest property in Wellington to cover some of the estimated cost of more than US$2 million, but it will be relying on interest from the island’s trust fund, which has been built up with donor support since 2004.

Niue MP Terry Coe says people are asking why the trust fund money is not being spent solving some of the critical infrastructure problems on the island.

[PIR editor’s note: In a separate report Terry Coe says "…you see the state of our roads and the education system and the wages for the public servants etc and the other infrastructure [which] is in very poor condition, we should be doing those things up with that money and bringing it here so that when we do use it circulates around on the island and benefits all of the people.."]

But the high commissioner in Wellington, Sisilia Talagi, says the property would be an investment. "It’s just looking at an investment that will benefit the mission in the long run, and the relationship with New Zealand and Niue is not going to go away. It will always be there."

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