17 Feb 2006

New Zealand politician says vote for the status quo in Tokelau a triumph of commonsense

5:52 pm on 17 February 2006

A New Zealand Opposition MP says the vote by the people of Tokelau to remain a New Zealand colony is a victory for commonsense.

Over the past week around six hundred resident Tokelauans have voted by the narrowest of margins to maintain the status quo over a limited measure of independence in free association with New Zealand.

John Hayes, a former diplomat in the region and now the National Party's associate spokesman on foreign affairs, says it was an ill advised exercise in stupidity.

"How on earth did anyone ever think that 1500 people living on 3 atolls four hundred kilometres across the ocean from Apia would have sufficient cash surplus as a group to afford the costs of self government.The bureaucrats who recommended this process and the ministers who blindly accepted it have lost their grip on commonsense and reality. It is just a total waste of money."