5 Nov 2004

Tokelau council seeks reassurances from NZ

11:14 am on 5 November 2004

Tokelau's Council for Ongoing Government began its two-week visit to New Zealand with community discussions in Auckland last night.

The Tokelau Council is in New Zealand at the invitation of the prime minister, Helen Clark.

A spokesman for the Tokelau Council, Falani Aukuso, says it will consult other Tokelauan communities around New Zealand, on the option of self-government in free association with New Zealand.

Mr Falani says the council is looking for reassurance about the future of the atoll group.

"There is also, it would be true to say, that when Tokelau is seriously considering the option of self determination with the option of free association with New Zealand, it does look with some concern as to how will it fare what kind of arrangement, how will it fare in the future in terms of basic infrastructure, and services, such as health, education and transport."

Mr Falani says other issues for discussion include ways to preserve the language, and the effects of global warming.

Mr Falani says the council will visit Wellington next week for talks with the New Zealand government.