NEW ZEALAND URGES NIUE TO TRIM PARLIAMENT

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Twenty lawmakers represent 600 voters

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Dec. 15, 2010) - A politician on Niue says it would be very difficult to cut back the size of parliament as recommended by a New Zealand parliamentary report.

The report, by the foreign affairs, trade and defence committee, on New Zealand’s relationship with the Pacific, says the island’s 20-member parliament for just 600 voters is an abuse of trust and responsibility.

The committee says 40 years of New Zealand aid to Niue has yielded almost no return and it calls for Niueans to look at their very large political structure.

The opposition MP, Terry Coe, agrees the number of MPs should be reduced but he doubts people would accept it.

"And I think the people in the small villages and that would not support it because they’re losing their identity as such and they feel very vulnerable, having to join up with another village. So I really don’t think it would go through. If it did eventually come back to the House I don’t think the members would want to lose their jobs - that’s the practicality of it."

[PIR editor’s note: According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niue is a self-governing country in free association with New Zealand. They are New Zealand citizens and they have the right of entry into New Zealand. New Zealand is reportedly Niue’s largest bilateral donor].

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