19 Oct 2007

Tokelau to hold new referendum on self-government

1:05 pm on 19 October 2007

Voting gets underway this weekend in a Tokelau referendum that could see the end of its position as New Zealand's last colony.

The poll begins in Apia in Samoa, where many Tokelauan public servants are based.

The ballot boxes will then be transported around the three atolls, with the count being conducted after voting ends on Atafu.

The Secretary to Tokelau's Referendum Commission, Joe Sueveinakama, says measures are in place to make sure the ballot boxes cannot be tampered with between the start of voting and counting:

"We have the UN observers. They've been specifically to ensure the election is transparent and there is no tampering. There will also be voting locks. Once the voting box is locked they will remain locked until they are opened on the 24th and they will be secured by a police guard who will actually travel with the voting box throughout the voting stations."

It's expected that a result will be known within an hour or two after voting ends.