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Peters welcomes UN praise for Tokelau process

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

6 July 2006

Peters welcomes UN praise for Tokelau process

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has welcomed a United Nations resolution commending the transparent and professional way in which New Zealand handed Tokelau’s referendum on self-government.

The resolution was adopted at a recent meeting of the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonisation in New York.

In February's referendum, 60 per cent of Tokelauans voted in favour of becoming self-governing in free association with New Zealand – a status similar to Niue and the Cook Islands – but the proposal failed because it required a two-thirds majority.

“The UN resolution confirmed New Zealand has taken the right approach to Tokelau," Mr Peters said.

“It said the Tokelau referendum process was an example for territories yet to move to self-government. Our support for Tokelau’s future, and our desire to respect the wishes of its people to determine their own political status, was a seen as a case study for other territories.

"The resolution also underlines just how ignorant National's junior foreign affairs spokesman John Hayes has been in continuing to criticise the referendum as a waste of time and money.

"His remarks at the time were foolish and ill-informed, and this resolution makes him looking even more out of step with successive New Zealand governments who have supported this process over the last thirty years."

The UN resolution noted Tokelau remained committed to developing its capacity for a future vote on self-determination. Tokelau is expected to decide in August when another referendum on self-government will be conducted

“New Zealand will continue to be guided by the people of Tokelau on the path they choose for the future, and will continue to support them,” Mr Peters said.

ENDS

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