17 Apr 2007

Tokelau shipping service to be upgraded

1:39 pm on 17 April 2007

The New Zealand administrator to Tokelau says tenders for a new shipping service to the Tokelau atolls are likely to be called for this year.

David Payton says the people of Tokelau need an improved shipping service.

He says work is under way on a replacement shipping service which might be a new vessel, or an existing vessel that can be converted or it might be a new charter arrangement.

"We're still working on exactly what the costs and what the capacity will be. The broad outline of the types of activities that this vessel or this service needs to provide have been agreed, including through activities involving senior Tokelaun representatives. And now we're at the stage where expressions of interest will move to specific tendering later on this year, once we have the approval of the New Zealand government."

David Payton says tenders are expected to be sought from Australia and New Zealand.

He says the new shipping service won't be ready before the Tokelau referendum on self-determination late this year.