9 Feb 2006

Tokelau unable to join UN even if it becomes self-governing

7:26 am on 9 February 2006

United Nations officials say Tokelau won't be eligible to join the world body should it choose to become a self-governing state.

Four UN-affiliated officials are joining the exercise of a referendum on self-determination which begins later this week.

Officials say if the New Zealand protectorate becomes self-governing in free association with New Zealand, it will still depend on Wellington for national defence, and for that reason cannot join the UN.

Tokelau is one of 16 non-self-governing territories left on the UN decolonisation list, including New Caledonia, Guam, American Samoa and Pitcairn.