2 Mar 2006

Recognition in New Zealand that Tokelau needs better shipping service than currently provided

8:38 pm on 2 March 2006

New Zealand's administrator for Tokelau, Neil Walter, says there is a recognition that New Zealand has not enough to ensure an adequate shipping service for the remote atolls.

The Government is shortly to consider a proposal that it provide a multi-million dollar purpose built ship for Tokelau.

Mr Walter says this boat needs to be able to cope with maritime surveillance, medical evacuations, the transport of people and freight and to provide a reliable link for the three atolls.

He says it is likely to cost between three and a half, and seven million US dollars.

"So a significant investment but at the same time I think New Zealand recognises that shipping has been something of a gap in our servicing to Tokelau for a long, long time. Now that Tokelau needs and deserves something better than the current arrangement. So there is a real will, if you like, to come up with the right answer."