14 Mar 2007

Tokelau government rejects criticism of push for self-government

10:55 am on 14 March 2007

Tokelau's ongoing government has dismissed criticism that the atolls are too small and isolated to become self governing.

The second vote on self determination in free association with New Zealand is to be held in November.

One of the three faipule, or village leaders, Kolouei O'Brien, says they are confident the people will support the change in status this time following a close vote in February last year.

Kolouei O'Brien says self determination will largely formalise the present relationship with New Zealand but also give Tokelau more chance to seek help and investment from other countries.

He says regardless of Tokelau's size, it still needs essential services.

"You have to have health, good health, good education, all those types of things are costly. There is a lot of development that needs to be done on our fishing industry, but nothing really has been done in the 80 years since Tokelau became a colony under New Zealand, nothing much is done."