24 Aug 2005

Tokelau wants some say in foreign affairs when it goes to self rule

3:23 pm on 24 August 2005

Tokelau wants to have some say in foreign affairs if, as expected, it becomes independent but in free association with New Zealand.

The New Zealand administered territory is likely to hold a referendum on that issue later this year.

The General Fono, the main political body, is meeting this week, with discussion so far focussing on the draft of a Treaty of Association.

The General Manager of Tokelau's National Public Service, Falani Aukuso, says the Fono members have raised concerns about the need for more clarity in New Zealand's aid funding in the long term.

And he says they want the chance to represent their views on the international stage.

"What Tokelau is saying is it would want to, to the greatest extent possible, to be free to negotiate with whomsoever, whatever nations or international organisations, it can in order to maximise the opportunities that would come with sovereignty.''"