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The island of Niue is located in Polynesia, east of Tonga and north-east of New Zealand. Niue is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand, an arrangement dating from October 1974. Niueans are New Zealand citizens with the right of free access to New Zealand, where approximately 90 per cent of Niue’s population lives. Niue’s resident population is about 1,500.
The Head of State is HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor-General of New Zealand.
Niue's parliament is the Niue Assembly and consists of 20 members (14 constituency or village seats, and 6 common roll seats) elected every three years by universal suffrage. The 20 members elect a Premier, who then selects three cabinet ministers. Assembly members currently all serve as independents. The members appoint a Speaker from outside their ranks.
Recent political developments
Recent political developments
The most recent Niue general election was held on 7 May 2011 for eight of the 14 village based constituencies and the six common roll seats. Elections were not required for the six other village seats, because only one candidate nominated in each. The Niue Assembly elected Toke Talagi as Premier on 16 May 2011.
Niue is self governing in free association with New Zealand. In recent years Niue has become responsible for its external affairs, and New Zealand only acts on Niue’s behalf if Niue requests this.
Niue's ties with other Pacific countries are primarily based on its membership in regional organisations, including the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the Pacific Community (SPC), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), University of the South Pacific (USP), the Pacific Islands Applied GeoScience Commission (SOPAC) and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). Niue contributed four police officers to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) between 2006 and 2010.
Niue hosted the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in August 2008. In May 2009 it hosted the annual meetings of the FFA. Niue also participates in a number of other international organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Meteorological Organisation (IMO).
The economic challenges experienced by Niue are common to other small island states within the region. Geographic isolation, limited natural resources and a small population hamper economic development. Cyclones occasionally devastate the island's infrastructure, including housing and tourist facilities.
Under the terms of the constitutional agreement between the two countries, New Zealand provides substantial economic and administrative assistance to Niue. Economic assistance is provided in the form of both direct budget support and project-related aid.
Fishing licences and the international lease of Niue's unique four digit telephone numbers are important income earners for the country. In the aftermath of the devastation of public and private infrastructure by cyclone Heta in January 2004, remittances from Niueans living abroad played a fundamental role in supplementing the income of island families.
The tourist industry is a small, but potentially important, sector in the economy. Noni-juice production also provides ongoing employment opportunities for the population.
Niue's declining population has been a concern to successive governments. At the time of the 2006 Census, the population was 1,625. Over 20,000 Niueans currently live in New Zealand and about 500 live in Australia.
Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles visited Niue on a bilateral visit in December 2010. Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer David Bradbury visited Niue in October 2010 to attend the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting. Premier Talagi attended the Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns in August 2009.
Australia and Niue enjoy a friendly relationship based on shared membership of Pacific regional organisations. Australia is providing $4.6 million in official development assistance to Niue in 2011-12. More information is available on the AusAID (http://www.ausaid.gov.au/) website.
On 25 October 2006, Australia, Niue and New Zealand became signatories to the Niue International Trust Fund (NITF) Deed (the Deed). Signature of the Deed set in place the formal legal arrangements required for the long-term operation of the Niue Trust Fund. The aim of the NITF is to provide a long-term, dependable revenue stream for the Government of Niue, to encourage self-reliance and decrease dependency on official development assistance.
Since 2004, Australia has contributed approximately $6 million to the Trust Fund, which is held in the New Zealand-managed Niue Trust Fund Account until the full implementation of the NITF. Australia participates in the Trust Fund on an ongoing basis through its annual contributions and membership on the Trust Fund Board of Directors.
In 2010-11, Australian exports to Niue totalled A$150,000 (principally tobacco and iron, steel and aluminium structures). In the same period, imports from Niue to Australia totalled A$15,000 (principally non-electrical machinery and parts).
Australians wishing to visit Niue should consult our Smartraveller (http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/) website.
Australians entering Niue for a stay of up to 30 days do not require a visa provided they have a valid passport, a ticket for onward travel, and do not intend to take up paid employment. Australians intending to visit Niue should contact their travel agent for full information on entry requirements.
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