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Tokelau: Caution urged, possible second referendum

Caution urged as Tokelau seeks second referendum in less than 4 months

A New Zealand-based Tokelauan community leader, Tione Vulu, says Tokelauan leaders should not rush into another referendum on self-determination.

While Tokelau’s assembly has agreed to seek another referendum next year or early 2008, Mr Vulu says the people have already voted.

Tokelau remains a New Zealand territory after February’s referendum failed to reach a two thirds majority in favour of self-determination in free association with New Zealand.

Mr Vulu says the attraction of cutting ties with New Zealand is more money from aid donors and other countries.

But he says the leaders should focus more on sorting out the territory’s internal affairs before holding another referendum so soon.

“The relationship with New Zealand is important and absolutely crucial because it’s its lifeline. Nevertheless it doesn’t matter how much money you pour into the place, it won’t fix problems unless your willing to deal with real issues on the ground in Tokelau.”

Tione Vulu.

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