Friday, February 17, 2006


Tokelau has voted to stay with New Zealand. Or has it? A clear majority of Tokelauans - almost 60% - voted for independence, but they failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority required to become legally self-governing. So, no change - but its hardly a ringing endorsement of New Zealand rule. From the Herald's description of "grim-faced" foreign affairs officials, it seems that this wasn't how things were supposed to go at all - Tokelau was supposed to vote for independence, and the UN would finally be off our back about colonialism. I guess no-one expected that enough Tokelauans would actually vote for colonial government...

And OTOH, why wouldn't they? They already have effective self-government of their own manner and choosing, and New Zealand is a distant and undemanding master. Change seems pointless and unnecessary. While this sounds strange - who wouldn't want to be independent, and have their own voice, however small, on the international stage? - New Zealanders display exactly the same thinking about the monarchy, a similar historical relic. Likewise, it took us sixteen years to accept the offer of full independence (in the form of the Statute of Westminister) from the UK. If we were slow to cut the colonial apron strings, we can hardly complain if others are too.


How about we just cut the ties - I don't get why they have to vote on it anyway.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/17/2006 11:22:00 AM

If New Zealand had remained a British colony we would now have: full trade access to the EU market for all our products, free migration from Europe and to Europe, the Euro and 3.25% interest rates, a say in any changes to the European constitution and Commission directives rather than being at the receiving end of them all the time.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 2/17/2006 01:53:00 PM

M'Lud: we can't. Or rather, the appropriate act is an Act of the UK Parliament, not the NZ one. And really, I don't think they would want us back.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/17/2006 04:03:00 PM

I'm surprised that 60% of them wanted to leave. They get subsidised by NZ in many ways.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/19/2006 06:50:00 PM

Anon: independence would not have resulted in a reduction in New Zealand aid, or even resulted in the loss of NZ citizenship. It would simply have confirmed the existing de facto status.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/19/2006 07:06:00 PM