17 Oct 2006

Tokelau to hold new referendum in November 2007

2:23 pm on 17 October 2006

New Zealand will organise another referendum on Tokelau's possible self-government in November next year.

The foreign minister, Winston Peters, made the announcement in a media release as he appointed career diplomat, David Payton, as New Zealand's new administrator of Tokelau.

Mr Payton, who replaces Neil Walter, will visit Tokelau for the first time next month.

In a referendum in February, Tokelauans voted against changing the three atolls' status to become a country with self-government in free association with New Zealand.

60 percent of voters opted for change but the proposal failed to get two thirds support needed for it to be implemented.

Shortly after the defeat at the polls, those unhappy with the result called on New Zealand to organise a new referendum.

Tokelau is New Zealand's only territory on the UN lists of territories to be decolonised.