Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tokelau stays (again)

Tokelau has again voted to stay part of New Zealand. The independence vote did better this time round - 64.4% as opposed to 60% - but still fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed for independence. And the margin is absolutely tiny: only 16 votes out of the 692 cast.

After two referenda in less than two years, I'd say the result is pretty clear: not quite enough Tokelauans want to be independent. Hopefully the Tokelauan administration won't make the same mistake as last time, and force their people to vote again until they get it right. Instead, it would be better to back off, spend a little more time building that majority for change, and have another go in a few years time.

But regardless of what Tokelau chooses, one thing shouldn't change: like the people of the Cook Islands and Niue, these people are whanau. They should always be welcome here, and we should continue to help them for as long as they want and need it.