17 Feb 2006

Tokelau administrator says act of self-determination always a challenge

9:10 am on 17 February 2006

The Administrator for Tokelau Neil Walter says the act of self-determination was always going to be something of a challenge, particularly given the bar had been set at a two-thirds majority.

Mr Walter says the people of Tokelau have traditionally taken a very cautious approach to change.

He says the important thing was that the people had a chance to determine whether or not to take on formal authority and responsibility for governing themselves.

Our reporter in Tokelau, Sara Vui-Talitu, says work towards a status change in Tokelau will now be put on the back-burner.

"Tokelau's status will remain the same, I think that a lot of the work that has gone into drafting up a Constitution for Tokelau and a draft treaty of free association for New Zealand, that will remain in draft form and perhaps at a later date, Tokelau maybe ready to look towards moving in this direction again."

The observer and ambassador on the UN's special committee on decolonisation, Robert Aisi, says it was always up to the Tokelauan people to decide their future status.

Ok, well it was well-organised and I think the people have spoken so, it was 60 per cent of the vote, instead of the two-thirds we required, I think it was well-organised and the result was a fair result.