31 Oct 2018

NZ law firm says Tokelauans denied legal access, human rights

From , 4:04 pm on 31 October 2018

A New Zealand law firm says Tokelauans are being shut out of legal processes and denied human rights and freedoms.

Tokelauans are also New Zealand citizens but local laws apply to people living and working in Tokelau.

On Friday, WCM Legal raised its concerns with the UN Human Rights Council in a submission ahead of its scheduled review of New Zealand's human rights next year.

John Goddard, a solicitor with the firm, says under the law of Tokelau's government, Tokelauans don't have access to a Human Rights Council or Ombudsman.

Mr Goddard is also representing two former public servants in Tokelau's government who are suing their former employer and New Zealand's Administrator to the territory, Ross Ardern.

He told Mackenzie Smith Tokelauans face costly and arduous legal hurdles and are unable to access lower level courts like New Zealanders can.

WCM Legal solicitor John Goddard

WCM Legal solicitor John Goddard Photo: ( RNZ / Phil Pennington )