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Tokelau vote should include all Tokelauans

Tokelau vote should include all Tokelauans

National’s Associate Foreign Affairs spokesman, John Hayes, says any referendum on the future of Tokelau should have the participation of all Tokelauans.

“It is an absolute outrage that the 10,000 Tokelauan people living in New Zealand are to be excluded from the referendum. As all Tokelauan people have New Zealand citizenship, carry New Zealand passports and have shared rights to communally owned land in Tokelau, I can see no reason to exclude those resident in New Zealand from this vital vote,” says Mr Hayes.

“The Labour Government and its buddies at the UN need to realise that the 1,400 people on three atolls comprising 10sq km of land, 270 miles off Samoa, who are completely dependent on subsistence agriculture and fishing, are never going to have sufficient disposable income to support self-government.

“This would be the equivalent of Eketahuna or Greytown suddenly becoming self-reliant.

“If cut loose by this process, Tokelau will become a haven for snake oil salesmen keen to make a quick buck by conning the cash-strapped locals. This would be a disaster for the people of Tokelau, as it has been for those of Niue, but it will be New Zealand taxpayers who are left to pay for the mess.

“The decolonisation process is being driven by experts in international law who have lost their grip on reality. The process they are driving is the same as that which failed the people of Niue. I urge all Tokelauans to look at the outcomes of self-governance on Niue before voting. They should not be swayed by baubles promised by Labour. Those are designed to induce Tokelau from the decolonisation list, benefiting the New Zealand Government, not the people of Tokelau.

“Labour should let the people of Tokelau develop their relationship with New Zealand at the pace they want to and without external pressure from people outside the region.

“The relationship with Tokelau would be much better facilitated through the appointment of a Tokelauan to the position of Tokelau Administrator. It is totally anachronistic to have a non-Tokelauan in this role, as is currently the case,” says Mr Hayes.


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