30 May 2013

Tokelau pondering formal Fono seats for women

3:38 pm on 30 May 2013

Tokelauans have been considering whether some of seats in the territory's parliament, the General Fono, should be formally reserved for women.

A consultant to Tokelau on constitutional issues, Professor Tony Angelo, has this month been facilitating discussion various constitutional matters ahead of the next Fono meeting in July.

He says the merits of reserved seats for women came up during debate on whether senior village elders, who already attend the Fono informally, should be properly incorporated into the body.

Professor Angelo says it is not clear what the General Fono will decide.

"I think virtually no one with an anti-women stance and quite a lot of support for reserving a minimum number, but arguments, well, in some villages there are quite strong representations of women in the governing councils, why mightn't this just happen naturally. You know, we shouldn't be forcing it."

Professor Tony Angelo of Victoria University in Wellington