24 May 2004

Tokelau rejects suggestions it's being forced towards self determination

7:20 am on 24 May 2004

A spokesman for the Pacific territory of Tokelau has dismissed media reports that it is being forced towards self determination by New Zealand and the United Nations.

The reports claimed that the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation had been forcing Tokelau to hold a vote on whether to remain part of New Zealand, become self governing or independent.

Falani Aukuso, speaking on behalf of the Ulu O Tokelau, or head of Tokelau's Council, says that's not the case.

He says the territory voted last year to explore an appropriate form of free association with New Zealand and the pace or any change is entirely up to Tokelau.

"..and the nature of any form of self determination particularly between New Zealand and Tokelau is also up to the people of Tokelau...I don't think that Tokelau has been forced into the situation ..it has been working cautiously, very slowly and in a very considered manner on what the possible terms migt be."

Falani Aukuso