19 Apr 2018

The plight of two Tokelauans sacked over the helicopter saga

From , 3:03 pm on 19 April 2018

Fifteen months ago the then New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully sparked an uproar when he revealed the Tokelau government had bought two helicopters.

Mr McCully issued a please explain, given Wellington had just provided a new ferry service for the atolls with an apparent dismissal of air travel links for the atolls.

The Tokelau government struggled to explain publicly.

The New Zealand government had a commission of inquiry and the Tokelau government also ordered a lengthy investigation.

But eventually two senior staffers, Joe Suveinakama and Heto Puka were blamed.

They were suspended and then sacked.

Both men are seeking redress in the High Court for unjust dismissal, saying they were only carrying out decisions that had been made by the Tokelau government as Heto Puka explained to Don Wiseman.

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Photo: kunilanskap/123RF