24 Jun 2008

Tokelau eyes new self-determination bid

1:50 pm on 24 June 2008

Tokelau's leader says he will again raise the issue of greater self-determination when Tokelau's General Assembly meets next month.

Ulu Pio Tuia has just presented a statement in New York to the UN Committee on Decolonisation after a referendum in October failed, for a second time, to secure enough support to see Tokelau move towards increased self-government.

Pio Tuia says the General Assembly had wanted to focus on improving infrastructure for some time before looking again at its status as a colony of New Zealand:

"When I go back to Tokelau I think in our next general meeting I think I will try to see how Tokelau feel about this process of hunting for self government in continuing free association with New Zealand."

Pio Tuia says he will also talk to the United Nations Development Programme about areas where Tokelau would like assistance, such as alternative energy sources and health.

He also plans to highlight Tokelau's vulnerability to climate change and request help to complete sea walls to protect the three low lying atolls.