24 Mar 2004

Tokelau talks to flesh out agreement with New Zealand

3:14 pm on 24 March 2004

New Zealand's administrator for Tokelau says talks early next month between officials will focus on fleshing out the principles of partnership agreement.

Neil Walter says the agreement, which was signed between New Zealand and Tokelau late last year, formalises the status quo as the territory has been largely running itself for some time.

The agreement followed the fono, or national assembly, deciding to consider free association with New Zealand, one of three options available under the UN list for decolonisation.

Mr Walter says a range of issues will be covered from the political to the practical.

"What kind of New Zealand support would undertake to provide to Tokelau and in return, what kind of responsibilities Tokelau would accept in terms of self-government, what measures should be put in place to ensure that the culture, language of Tokelau are fully protected. What would happen in the event of an emergency, for example a cyclone - how would New Zealand respond to that, how would it assist"

Neil Walter, the administrator for Tokelau.

The talks will be held in Wellington early next month.