20 Dec 2018

Tokelau helicopter case to continue despite hurdle

9:47 pm on 20 December 2018

A legal case against Tokelau's government will continue, despite two disgruntled former public servants being ordered to pay security.

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Photo: kunilanskap/123RF

Last week, Jovilisi Suveinakama and Heto Puka were dealt a blow in their year-long legal case, in which they claim they were wrongfully dismissed.

The two men were fired following investigations into the Tokelau government's purchase of two helicopters.

Tokelau's High Court said on Friday the case had been stayed until the plaintiffs paid a total of $US6800.

Already under financial stress, it is unclear if they will be able to pay the security.

The High Court judgement showed New Zealand's Administrator to Tokelau, Ross Ardern, sought to force the plaintiffs to pay security to prevent the case from dragging on.

John Goddard, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said if they did not pay, Mr Ardern would no longer be a defendant in the case.

Mr Ardern's push for security payments "could be seen by some people as a further barrier towards accessing justice", Mr Goddard said.

But the plaintiffs' case against Tokelau's government and Ulu, Afega Gaualofa, will continue, the lawyer said.

A hearing has been set for February 11.

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