10 Feb 2006

Tokelau chooses a new site for its Apia referendum vote after flooding

2:49 pm on 10 February 2006

The first voting venue for Tokelau's upcoming referendum on self determination has been changed because of flooding.

In an Act of Self Determination nearly seven hundred Tokelauans will decide over the next week whether to loosen their bonds with New Zealand.

The vote is to begin in two days in Apia, before proceeding to the three atolls of Tokelau.

Heavy rain for the past month in Apia has led to flooding in low lying areas, and the voting booth has been affected, with some equipment damaged.

The general manager of Tokelau's public service, Falani Aukuso, says the Apia vote has been relocated to Nia Mall, where Tokelau's public service office is located.

He says despite this setback all other elements of the referendum process are going to plan.

"We've had some rough seas throughout the last month, but at this stage, in terms of the referendum going ahead we haven't cancelled, we haven't been advised by long range forecasts that it will be pretty rough and any cyclone on the horizon so as of today, present time, everthing is going ahead."

Falani Aukuso.