NZ addresses UN on Tokelau self-governance

Photo: kunilanskap/123RF

NEW YORK, 18 OCTOBER 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – New Zealand has told a United Nations committee on decolonisation that it’s committed to helping Tokelau become self-governing.

At a meeting last week, New Zealand’s representative to the UN, Craig Hawke, said the relationship with Tokelau had been scaled up this year.

Over the next four years, New Zealand will invest around US$56 million in Tokelau.

Craig Hawke told the UN the funding will be focused on improving health and education systems.

He said good governance and sound financial management are also priorities for Tokelau.

Funds will also go towards climate change resilience, including improving coastal protection against storms and sea-level rise.

In June, Tokelau’s Ulu, or leader, told the UN it will be several years before self-government could be considered again.

As part of the new government’s approach to Tokelau, New Zealand this month led the first ministerial visit to Tokelau in almost 15 years, announcing a new weather station and disaster-relief supplies.

New Zealand is also co-financing an undersea internet cable and funding a new inter-atoll vessel scheduled to arrive later this year.

Hawke told the UN committee that the Climate Change Convention and Paris Agreement now extended to Tokelau.

“This is likely to mean increased recognition for Tokelau’s climate mitigation work, as well as the greater focus on its vulnerability to the effects of climate change,” he said.