13 Nov 2019

NZ administrator to Tokelau seeks costs from fired public servants

4:29 pm on 13 November 2019

New Zealand's administrator to Tokelau is seeking legal costs from two former Tokelauan public servants who unsuccessfully sued him.

Tokelau Administrator, Ross Ardern, in Apia, Samoa.

Tokelau Administrator, Ross Ardern, in Apia, Samoa. Photo: RNZ PACIFIC / MACKENZIE SMITH

It's the latest twist in a years-long legal dispute over millions of dollars Tokelau spent on helicopters, which were later sold off.

Heto Puka and Jovilisi Suveinakama sued Tokelau's government after they were fired for buying two helicopters without authorisation.

In July, Tokelau's High Court backed their dismissal, but found the government unlawfully withheld pay from them.

New Zealand's administrator to Tokelau, Ross Ardern, was also a defendant until the plaintiffs dropped proceedings against him in January.

But court documents show Mr Ardern is seeking $US21,000 from the plaintiffs to pay for his legal costs.

Mr Puka and Mr Suveinakama are opposing the application, and the High Court has yet to make a ruling.

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