John Key lands in Niue

Last updated 11:03 05/06/2014

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Prime Minister John Key has arrived in Niue on the last leg of his three-nation Pacific tour, announcing moves to boost annual tourism numbers in the tiny country of about 1500 people.

After he and Niue Premier Toke Talagi had cut the ribbon on the refurbished airport terminal using ceremonial swords, Key announced a $1.35 million grant for tourism and renewable projects.

Of that, $1m would go to tourism development spread over five years, which it was hoped would boost annual visitor numbers from 7000 to 10,000, Key said.

The island had a 56 per cent increase in tourism last year and an 83 per cent rise in tourist spending after New Zealand spent $10.1m upgrading the Matavai Hotel and other accommodation.

The remainder of the grant announced today would help ensure the stability of the island's electricity grid as it lifted the proportion of energy from renewable sources, Key said.

He will hold talks with Talagi and tour the island during his seven-hour stopover.

Key joked that the last time he was here he entertained with his dancing, but this time new economic development ambassador Shane Jones, accompanied by Labour foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer on guitar, would be his "mobile dancing troop".

Key will return to New Zealand today. 

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