Niue leader extends Auckland medical stay

Niue's premier has told the island's residents that he will be staying in Auckland for continuing medical care for several more weeks.

Sir Toke Talagi has already been in Auckland for nearly two months.

He said he was getting better but was still in need of treatment.

Sir Toke had serious health issues last year, requiring him to be medivacced from the island to New Zealand on two occasions.

Niue passes a deficit budget

Meanwhile, the Niue parliament has passed the 2017 Budget, leaving the island with a deficit of about $US800,000 dollars.

The island which has long been reliant on foreign aid mostly from New Zealand, is expected to make up the difference with donor funds.

The new deficit follows a similar shorfall in 2016.

The biggest drain on the government's funds are the wages of public servants, which were boosted by up to 40 percent just before this year's election.

The government has already announced a series of new charges to try and claw some money back, including a large hike in the departure tax.

It now costs $US59 dollars to leave Niue and some on the island say this could deter yachties and other tourists from visiting.


Photo: RNZI/Sally Round Niue's premier Sir Toke Talagi being interviewed in Niue March 2017