Opening address by Premier of Niue, Hon. Toke Talagi at 14th FEMM

Opening Address
Delivered by the Hon. Toke Tufukia Talagi
Hon. Premier of Niue at the Forum Economic Ministers’ Meeting (FEMM)
Alofi, Niue
October 27th, 2010



Hon Ministers,
Mr Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General
Heads of Delegations
Representatives of Regional and International Organizations
Officials of the FEMM
Officials of the Niue Government
Distinguished Participants
Ladies and Gentlemen

Fakalofa lahi atu kia mutolu oti fakaue kehe Iki he lagi kua laveaki mai a tautolu oti kehe motu nei ko Niue ke fono nai
It is indeed a privilege to have you all here in our Island Paradise. I hope that you have all taken the opportunity to contribute towards Niue’s economic growth throughout the duration of your stay here in Niue and in supporting our private sector.
I take this opportunity to address you all with a directness that I hope will not be offensive to you because that is certainly not my intention. At the onset it is my belief that the FEMM meetings have been meandering and needs to be re-focused more on economic issues and their impacts on our developments . This is not apportioning blame on you or anyone, but an attempt on my part in reaffirming the purpose of FEMM.
FEMM belongs to us Ministers dealing with critical economic issues affecting us all. If our economies are weak and lack critical focus everything else in and within our communities will not be strong or healthy either. It is our responsibility to decide and determine what the FEMM agenda shall be and our duty to report the outcomes and findings of our meetings accordingly to the Leaders of the Forum.
I make it clear to you all today that this is our FEMM and that we alone take responsibility for the decisions we shall make and for the successes and failures that we may encounter. The key task ahead of us is to determine what is important and to act accordingly.
You would have already seen the agenda and from my perspective it appears to be mishmash of generalised ideas about our economies and what we can do to assist both regionally and nationally. We all need, as Niue has and is trying to do must become more definitive in our quest to improve our economic performance and outcomes as individual countries as well as regionally. It is my intention, as I have spoken to you informally at our meeting yesterday that if necessary we shall amend this agenda to ensure that it suits our intentions and purposes accordingly to what confronts us and as world economies dictate.
The challenges that we face with respect to the current worldwide economic and financial crisis have had varied impacts on our local economies. It is clear that those who depend on tourism and remittances as well as exports to larger economics have had a rough time. To date, our responses have been varying according to each country’s dependency on these outside forces. It remains clear however that this downturn has affected us all in one way or another. The challenge now is to determine how we can better focus our attention to the responses that are needed to ensure that we can ride out this crisis which appears to have continued despite our best efforts and the best efforts of much larger economies such as America, Japan, EU and including New Zealand and Australia to minimise the impacts of this downturn. We have seen their attempts through support of their economies by way of stimulus packages which has forced many of them to borrow heavily to support these. In many respects, the fact that Australia and New Zealand have not been as badly affected is encouraging; however, they are still being affected by the fact that their economies have been affected by the worldwide continuing crisis.
For many of us, our expectations are to turn to our donor partners to give us greater support, however, as we can all see, they themselves are struggling. Therefore, we must look to ourselves to determine what we need to do to ensure that we minimise the impacts that this will have upon us. Many of us have already taken definitive steps to adapting our structures and process in response, some of us, have yet to do so, therefore the theme or topic which we will discuss in broadening the economic base and growing our economies, must now turn to projects such as building the infrastructure in those areas in those economies, which will enable us to respond quicker to any recovery that may occur. That is the challenge before us; we will need to work closely with the donors, financial institutions and our multilateral partners to provide whatever support they can provide us. We must also focus our attentions to encouraging and providing incentives to our private sector partners, so that they too can respond to the challenges that we face. It is my belief that governments, on their own, cannot achieve any measure of broadening their economies in their respective countries without the support of our partners in the private sector, civil society, donor countries, financial institutions and multilateral partners.
Those are just some of the things that I shall be guiding us through so that we can refocus our attention on ensuring that we can strengthen, broaden and grow our economies, so that we can come out of this crisis in a better position than we were before.
It is my belief that if we are to report out findings to the Forum leaders, we will ourselves be happier with our achievements, and in refocusing our attention on those issues which are critically important to our economies we will allow our leaders to recognise the importance of FEMM and the need to continue supporting.
I also wish to convey the Government of Niue’s appreciation to the Forum Secretariat who has provided invaluable support and funding towards the organization of this meeting.

In addition, I take this opportunity to commend the organising team and Co-ordinator Mrs. Christine Ioane for the assistance they have provided the Forum Secretariat in hosting this year’s FEMM.

Let me conclude by offering my very best wishes to you all, that we endeavour to progress forward in the consultations that are undertaken, in the ideas that are put forward and in the decisions that are made.
With these few words, I now have the pleasure in declaring the 2010 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting officially open.
May the Lord bless and guide us all.
Kia Monuina




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