21 Oct 2013

Niue Premier questions Realm Status at Constitution Day event

6:47 am on 21 October 2013

The Premier of Niue, Toke Talagi has raised questions over the meaning of its status as a Realm country, during the country's 39th Constitution Day celebrations on Sunday.

Niue became self-governing in free association with New Zealand in October 1974, and along with the Cook Islands, Tokelau, and the Ross Dependency, form part of the wider Realm of New Zealand.

During the flag-raising ceremony in Alofi, the Premier said he cannot fully understand and appreciate what it means for the country to be a member of the Realm of New Zealand.

Toke Talagi says for a long time, Niue has been treated as a donor recipient and says it is important for Niuens to review its relationship with New Zealand.

"What I think we should do is determine what citizenship actually means because we are not certain at the present moment. We think there is a definition but what we need to do is sit down with the New Zealand government and talk to them, as well as the other Realm countries to determine whether that's what we want. At the same time we've got to be clear about what we ourselves want."

Toke Talagi says he will be raising the issue with the New Zealand Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands and the Ulu of Tokelau at the appropriate time.