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Niue, Economy

The official currency of Niue is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$2.20 equals U.S.$1; 2000 annual average). Most of Niue's budget is supplied by aid from New Zealand. Claiming the Niueans had ineffectively used the aid, however, New Zealand steadily decreased its funding from U.S.$5.5 million in 1991 to $1.9 million in 1994. The Niuean government is the largest employer. However, because of the drop in New Zealand funding, employment in the public service has dropped to 250 from a peak of 650. A few families have small businesses; others are engaged in agriculture. Remittances from Niueans living abroad remain a significant source of personal income.

The sale of postage stamps to foreign collectors is an important source of trade revenue. Niue has a very small tourist industry, with only a few hundred visitors each year. Exports include canned coconut cream, copra, honey, passion fruit, limes, and handicrafts. Agricultural production suffers occasional setbacks because of storms. New Zealand is Niue's chief trading partner; a small amount of trade is carried on with the Fiji Islands, Japan, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), Australia, and the United States. In 1993 imports totaled about $1.9 million, while exports amounted to less than one-seventh that amount.

Transportation is a great barrier to both trade and tourism. There is no port in Niue and the only suitable anchorage lies off Alofi. Cargo is brought from New Zealand monthly. Weekly air service also connects Niue with New Zealand. There are 230 km (140 mi) of roads.


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