6 Aug 2010

Ship not airstrip says Tokelau Faipule

4:11 pm on 6 August 2010

Tokelau's Minister of Transport says an airstrip is not a priority for the atolls.

The New Zealand Government has asked interested businesses to look at whether or not an airstrip for Tokelau is feasible.

Tokelauans currently rely on a 20-year-old boat for all transport to and from the atolls.

Foua Taloa, the Faipule for Faka'ofo, and Tokelau's Minister of Transport, says they need a better boat first.

"Our council have been through this consultation, it has been widely discussed in the general Fono. But it has been made very very clear to New Zealand that the airstrip is not a priority at this moment. We know there have been some studies done in the past, the idea is not feasible, so at this stage the priority was given to the shipping."

Foua Taloa says while he understands the need for an airservice, especially for transporting sick people, a replacement boat will serve Tokelau's needs better.