16 Apr 2007

Tokelauans query leaders' commitment to quest for self government

6:29 pm on 16 April 2007

A New Zealand lawyer advising the Ongoing Government of Tokelau says some locals are concerned about whether the national leaders are united in their view towards self-government.

Tokelau is preparing to vote on independence in free association with New Zealand at the end of the year, on a date yet to be determined.

A law professor at Victoria University Tony Angelo says he attended one workshop earlier this year in Apia for people on referendum committees that involved village leaders.

He says at that workshop, concerns were raised over one faipule who had told the media after last year's failed referendum that he hadn't supported it.

"One of the interesting things from my point of view that was said by one the participants very early was, when we get a clear united message from you, we'll be right. So it was a sort of Tokelauan signal that the Tokelauan leaders need to lead, and to do it with a united voice."

Professor Tony Angelo says participants at that workshop had some searching questions about issues, unrelated to the voting process.