13 Mar 2007

Tokelau leaders confident of stronger backing for next referendum on self determination

4:42 pm on 13 March 2007

Tokelau's council for the ongoing government is confident there is now stronger expatriate support for November's referendum on self determination in free association with New Zealand.

The first vote in February last year failed to reach the two thirds threshold needed to end the islands' status as a New Zealand colony.

Tokelauans not living on the islands are not entitled to vote but their fears about the impact of the poll last year are thought to have swayed those on the atolls.

The ongoing government has been speaking with New Zealand Tokelauan communities over the past week and Kolouei O'Brien, one of the three Faipule of Tokelau, says people are now mostly supportive.

"I think the people understand now what we want to do. As far as we know right from Auckland to Rotorua, Taupo, and Palmerston North and Porirua, they seemed to be all supportive. Maybe one or two are against the move but most of the people understand what we are trying to do - they are very supportive."