NZ gives $5 million to help rebuild Niue

  • Phil Goff
Foreign Affairs and Trade

New Zealand will provide $5 million for reconstruction work on Niue, Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Aid Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

“The emergency relief phase following Cyclone Heta is now nearly over and we need to think about how we can help set Niue back on its feet in the longer term,” the Ministers said.

"The $5 million will come from the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID). Its exact use will depend on a needs assessment currently being carried out by the Niue Government, but the key goal will be the restoration of public institutions.

"We hope the announcement of such a substantial initial contribution to reconstruction will send a strong signal of support to Niue, and to other donors.

"Around $1 million of the total will be used to help re-start Niue’s private sector, which was shattered by the cyclone. With no cyclone cover available, some businesses have lost virtually everything. Many are unable raise loans to rebuild their businesses because they now have no income.

"The funding will provide a lifeline for many businesses, as well as offering the overall private sector with a vote of confidence, but it will be dependent on a transparent and equitable means of distribution being found that is acceptable to New Zealand," the Ministers said.

The latest assistance comes on top of around $800,000 already allocated by NZAID to emergency assistance in the days immediately following the cyclone.

New Zealand has been closely involved in recent reconstruction work, including restoration of water, power and international telecommunications services, civil defence recovery planning and the cleanup of asbestos building materials scattered in the high winds. An RNZAF Hercules flight to carry further rebuilding supplies to the island is scheduled for this Thursday.

Other donors, including Australia and France, have also played a significant role.

“The speed with which other countries have responded to the cyclone is heartening. The reconstruction effort is proceeding extremely well.

“We would like to pass on our thanks for the many generous offers of help that have been coming forward from the Niuean community in New Zealand and other New Zealanders. Not all of the offers can be taken up, but we and the Niuean Government have been overwhelmed by the generosity that so many people have shown.

“We would also like to pay tribute to the people of Niue, who have bounced back from this crisis astonishingly quickly and have knuckled down to rebuild their homes and country,” the Ministers said.