Tokelau elders concerned by new Management Plan
Village elders in Tokelau want more say in the government's Change Management Plan.
The council of village elders, or Taupulega, on Tokelau have until the end of April to submit amendments they want on the government's Change Management Plan.
The Plan is aiming to improve the delivery of services on Tokelau but the Taupulega raised concerns at the impact it could have on their villages.
The general manager of Tokelau's Apia office, Joe Suveinakama, says the Taupulega want to see improved service delivery but feel some of the changes could impinge on traditional institutions.
He told Don Wiseman why the Plan has been developed.
JOE SUVEINAKAMA: Similar challenges as other Pacific nations are facing. We are not delivering urgently and hard enough to bring about the quality of life that the people of Tokelau would be satisfied with. And this is some of the reviews that have been done of education and health and telecommunications.
DON WISEMAN: It has met something of a snag hasn't it because the Taupulega - the Council of Village Elders - they don't like this. Is it essentially because it is centralising and this would reduce their authority?
JS: Well when the discussion was on the quality of life they had actually put forward the views that the focus would actually be on service delivery. You know that the public service was not delivering the service to a satisfactory level, nor to actually meet the growing demand from people for quality of service. And I believe that the views from the Taupulega are that the Change Plan went beyond service delivery. It went into some structures and they thought if it [the Plan] was done internally Tokelau would have looked at it differently. So given the thinking that was impinging on some of the cultural institutions that actually represented the function of Tokelau.
DW: But to all intents and purposes it is about a centralising, isn't it?
JS: Yes it is about positioning service where it is best delivered. I think the Taupulega feel that some of their mandate in the village have been questioned without full information given in the report.
DW: So the Taupulega have got till the end of April to put their case but what is the expectation in terms of the implementation of this Change Management Plan?
JS: What we actually hear from the community is that they very much in support of the Change Plan in terms of service delivery at the village level where Tokelau does not have the capacity, so yes, there is actually a positiveness in this report. Everybody is quite excited about it.
DW: Will the outcome of this be the creation of what you might call a capital island - one place where there are a whole more services than the other islands?
JS: That is entirely a matter for discussion - I think the government would like to seek what the views are, of the villagers.
DW: But that has been talked about though?
JS: Yes but at an operation level, there is actually value in seeing services delivered centrally rather than duplicated right throughout the villages. I believe there is to be a discussion at both the conceptual level and the operational level,, but in terms of service delivery there seems to a recommendation from the report that there is value in centralising these services.
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