Financial contributions to Niue before self-government could not be strictly termed aid be­ cause the transfer was essentially one between the m etropole and its island territory Now that

In document Aid in an island microstate : the case of Niue (Page 106-110)

N iu e ’s political status is that of a nation state, albeit w ith o u t full independence, financial con­ trib utio ns to its Governm ent from offshore sources can be defined as aid.

Officials in the mid-1970s were hoping t h a t Niue would replace its budgetary support aid by internally generated revenue before 1983. In 1976 this would have required an additional $1.8 million of revenue, or about $450 per head of population. Extensive agricultural development of commercial export crops was viewed as the principal, and in some quarters the only means of reducing dependence on aid. The Secretary to G overnm ent, for example, had extremely high aspirations for increasing export production and hoped t h a t exports would increase from the existing level of $150,000 in 1976 to a projected level of $2 million (at 1976 values) by 1983 (Table 5.1).

T a b le 5-1: Proposed export targ e ts from 1976 forward to 1983 ($)

Commodity 1976 (actual) 1983 (target)*

Copra 1 1 4 t . 23,457 3 0 0 t . 66,000 Passionfruit 66,885 1 6 9 1 t . 1, 691,000 Lime juice 9 0 t . 21,910 4 8 0 t . 180,555 Lime oil 0. 2 t . 3,607 O. 8 t . 13,764 Honey 3 0 t . 9,303 5 1 t . 15,555 Pawpaw products Plaited ware** Fresh limes** 25,000 1,372 1 2 0 t . 52,800 (t.= tonnes) $151,534 $2, 019,674

Notes: * At 1976 prices, ** exported by air, not included in 1983 target which deals only with projected exports by ’sea’.

Source: Fisk (1978:4).

The Niue Governm ent recognised th a t one prerequisite of agricultural development was greater m anpower mobility. Thus the policy of developm ent was concurrently to provide for the training of skilled m anpower together with an extensive agricultural development programme. Therefore, in order of priority, the following were the major sector objectives in 1977:

1. Mobility in agricultural technology;

2. Accelerated training in a variety of areas associated with the development of an agrarian economy;

3. M aintenance and progressive improvements of health, education and housing;

4. M aintenance, improvement, and development of infrastructure; 5. M anufacturing (quoted in Haas, 1977:75).

This development strategy was supported by the New Zealand Government as the following com m ent by the then New Zealand Deputy Prim e Minister, Brian Talboys, attests:

There is no d o ubt t h a t there is agreem ent t h a t there should be a further concentration [of aid and efforts] in the agricultural field, in the development of livestock, and the promotion of the passionfruit and lime industries in Niue (quoted in N Z F A R 1977, 27(l):61).

T h e N a t io n a l D e v e lo p m e n t P la n , 1 9 8 0 -1 9 8 5 . The 1977 sector objectives formed the basis of the first National Development Plan (NDP) which was produced in 1979 (Niue G overnm ent, 1979). The N D P is essentially a sta te m e n t of the Niue G o v e rn m e n t’s aspirations as of August 1979 and is both a good deal fuller and considerably more idealistic in its aims th an any previous docum ent or statem ent:

* To promote a growing and dynamic society on Niue.

* To bring abo u t an improved economic and social sta n d a rd of life with opp ortunity for every person on Niue to work for improvement.

* To concurrently prom ote a larger measure of self-reliance.

* To ensure an equitable distribution of benefits deriving from economic development.

* To divert a greater proportion of total national resources into economic activities (Niue G overnm ent, 1979:13).

Achievement of the above aims was seen to involve:

* Increasing total population, through a decrease in loss of population and increase in inward migration.

* Increase in local production.

* Decrease in gap between imports and exports.

* Increase in the num ber of Niueans holding the leading positions in governm ent, and

* Increase in employment opportunities.

The specific objectives sought to achieve the above were:

* To increase the proportion of total governm ent expenditure m et from local revenue.

* To establish a private sector actively involved in production.

* To create the best possible climate for growth of private commercial activity and, where necessary, to actively intervene with subsidies.

* To increase productivity in the public sector, particularly the economic activities, to the point where substantial expansion is possible.

* To ensure the availability of a full range of financial infrastructure both for private sector development and for governm ent financial control.

* To minimise unemployment by keeping a balance between declining employment in existing government activities and new employment.

* To stop population decline by actively encouraging Niueans to stay in Niue and for those who have left, to return to Niue.

The NDP was oriented completely tow ards increased self-reliance and the achievement of self-confidence in the c o u n tr y ’s ability to meet a substantial share in the cost of m aintaining a modern Niue, and to move away from an alm ost total dependence on New Zealand aid. By increasing local revenue (from taxes, exports) and reducing governm ent expenditure the G overnm ent anticipated t h a t it could decrease its

dependence on budgetary support from approxim ately $2.3 million in 1979-80 to $1.0 million by 1984-85 (Niue Governm ent, 1979:143). The Plan also identified specific targets to which the commodity tra d e gap, migration and level of public service employment were to be reduced.

The Governm ent recognised the large deficit in comm odity trade ” as the most serious aspect” of its modern economic situation (Niue G overnm ent, 1979:14). It therefore planned to reduce the deficit by ” 10 per cent in real term s” by 1984.

In term s of migration the G overnm ent acknowledged t h a t ” m igration will affect future population level [s]” but it believed migration could be "decreased” and imm igration (of return m igrants) could be "increased” (Niue G overnm ent, 1979:14-15). The Plan consequently set a targ e t of the imm igration of 200 people (a q uarter of whom would be in the workforce) between 1979 and 1984, which was expected to partially coun teract a decline which, based on 1976-1979 migration rates, was anticipated to be of 326 people. The ND P thus forecast a total resident population of 3452 to be achieved by 30 March 1984.

The Government also planned to increase the total num ber of paid jobs and to reallocate "th e manpower involved in producing current government o u tp u t to em ploym ent in economic activities and in expanded productive a ctivity ” (Niue G overnm ent, 1979:130). It was a nticipated t h a t 150 out of 230 new jobs (65 per cent) would come from an expanded private sector and the remaining 80 from productive em ploym ent in the public service (Niue G overnm ent, 1979:16). The Government also expected to reduce the num ber of existing non-productive governm ent jobs by 60 between 1979 and 1984.

5.1.2 E x p e c t a t i o n s

Many planners of the Pacific Islands have spoken critically of the "revolution of rising expectations” in the context of discussing how weak and partial efforts to develop national self-reliance have failed to provide the results desired of island governments. Too often, however, there has been a failure to distinguish between the desires or aspirations of governments and their expectations. The latte r are often surprisingly ’realistic’ and closely geared to circumstances of economic dependence. This insight was strongly confirmed by policy and public sta te m e n ts made by the Premier and leading public servants. For example, Niue has a stated objective to reduce its trad e gap, bu t in 1974, the soon-to-be-elected Premier was decidedly pragm atic:

But no m a tte r how hard the people work, no m a tte r w hat twists of ingenuity they try, the best prediction t h a t the Leader of G o vernm ent, Mr Robert Rex, will make is t h a t one day trad e may ju st a b o u t balance out (Reynolds, 1974a:14).

The comm ents of a retired ex-member of the Niue Legislative Assembly who served between 1974 and 1977 is more revealing:

Our task in the Assembly was to give hope to Niueans. For example, we developed plans and policies to reduce m igration and try and get some Niueans to return home from New Zealand. The policies were good policies but I d o n ’t think anyone in the Assembly really believed they would work. 1 mean 1 d o n ’t think anyone tho ught we could stop people leaving or a tt r a c t people to return, or reduce our im ports...but we had to do something and anyway, the New Zealand people and officials seemed to me to like our policies (74 year old male informant, never emigrated, M utalau: April, 1983).

An example of the contrast between aspirations and expectations is contained in a governm ent paper (Niue Governm ent, 1978) presented to the 18th South Pacific Conference a t Noumea in 1978. In this paper the Niue Governm ent admits t h a t small island microstates such as itself may need ” an irreducible m inim um of subsidy from external sources” if they are to m aintain and develop their present standards of living (Niue G overnm ent, 1978:3).

A more recent statem en t, m ade by the Premier in the foreword to the NDP is also elucidating:

The leaders of the Niuean people recognise only fully well [sicj th a t in economic term s Niue cannot at present or in the foreseeable future go it alone. It is, however, most desirable t h a t the people’s expectations to achieve m o u i rnonuina m o e m a fo la m ust go hand in hand with a determined effort to produce more and more resources of our own (quoted in Niue Government, 1979: foreword).

In the same document, the economic future of Niue is seen inevitably as dependence on aid (Niue Governm ent, 1979:12). External observers agree. For example, both Pollard (1978) and Fisk (1978) argue t h a t Niue’s economic problems are insoluble and her future lies in perm anent dependence on foreign aid. In a more recent article, Fisk (1982) repeats this expectation.

Views held by the New Zealand Governm ent throughout the past decade have been similarly realistic. For example, Mr D.K. McDowell, New Zealand's representative to the O E C D ’s development assistance com m ittee stated in 1974 th a t the island m icrostates of the Pacific were ” well behind others in developm ent” and more im portantly ’’have only a marginal potential for becoming self-sustaining in an economic sense” (quoted in N Z F A R 1974, 24(12):18). He went on to say th a t: ” The economist’s answer to their future would be to depopulate them. But you cannot ju st move people around like t h a t ” . It is for these reasons Mr McDowell concluded th a t the island m icrostates of the Pacific (including Niue) would require continued relatively high levels of aid.

In document Aid in an island microstate : the case of Niue (Page 106-110)