14 Oct 2005

Tokelauans in NZ resent vote exclusion

5:13 pm on 14 October 2005

Members of the New Zealand Tokelauan community say the relationship they have with the atolls could be badly damaged if they do not have a say in a referendum on self-government.

The referendum is to decide whether Tokelau will become independent in free association with New Zealand, but it will only involve adult Tokelauans living on the atolls.

Tokelauan New Zealand community leader, Mika Perez, says the people here retain strong cultural links and want a say.

He says if the referendum is not deferred and changed to include those Tokelauans in New Zealand it will have a damaging impact on the two communities.

"They need to make issue here for us to live together happily because there would be some impact if we are not voting in the future. It would have a major impact on our relationship."