Tokelau casts vote of confidence in experienced leaders

Apia, Samoa, 1 February 2017.
The Office of the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau (OCOG) officially declares the results of the Territory’s 2017 General Election.

Twenty-one (21) General Fono Members were elected for the next parliamentary term (2017 to 2019). These include the three Faipule, three Pulenuku and 15 General Fono representatives.

Elections were held on 23 January 2017 in Nukunonu; on 27 January in Fakaofo; on 31 January 2017 in Atafu; and in parallel at the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office in Apia.

These were conducted under two laws:
  • the Constitution of Tokelau sets out the rules for determining the term, and number of elected candidates from each village as General Fono Members.
  • the National Election Rules 2013 provide the common template for each village to conduct the election and determine the winners.
The election result was a vote of confidence for the established leadership on the three atolls; and for members of the Council for the Tokelau Government according to Mr Jovilisi Suveinakama, Chief Advisor to the Council and General Manager of Tokelau’s Public Service.

“The people of Tokelau have returned an ‘experienced’ Government in those elected,” he said.

“However, while this is positive, the 21 members have an immense task ahead of them. The task of institutional strengthening will be one of the key priorities for the new Government.

“At the end of the day the development has to be tangibly felt in our families, community and people as a nation.”

Main points:
  • The number of members in the General Fono shall be 21.
  • There shall be seven (7) members from each of the three villages.
  • The rotation schedule for the leader of Tokelau, Ulu-o-Tokelau shall be the Faipule of Nukunonu (2017), Faipule Fakaofo (2018), and Faipule Atafu (2019)
Background and General Election results

The official results were determined in accordance with the requirements of the National Election Rules 2013, and the Constitution of Tokelau.
The 2017 election is only the second to be held under the National Election Rules 2013.

These Rules were endorsed by the 2013 General Fono. They provide a set of common conditions for the three Taupulega on each village to standardize the election of General Fono members. The set of common conditions is operationalized through an appointed Committee, to organize the election, supervise the voting, count the votes and declare the election results.

Prior to 2013, there were no common conditions – election arrangements were managed and conducted autonomously according to the rules set by each village Taupulega.

Voter Eligibility: To be eligible, an individual now has to meet two requirements: of age and of residency.
  • Age: At least 18 years of age.
  • Residency:
    • (i) To have resided in Tokelau for at least six (6) consecutive months in the preceding 12 months prior to the election; and
    • (ii) should the person be neither a permanent residence in Tokelau nor a New Zealand citizen, then he/she must have resided in Tokelau for at least one (1) year prior to the election.
Candidate Eligibility:
To win a General Fono candidate nomination, one had to meet four requirements:
  • Residency: to have lived in Tokelau for at least two years immediately preceding the election;
  • Holder of a valid New Zealand passport;
  • At least 35 years of age; and
  • Gain nomination at a village meeting.
Term and Number of Candidates from each Village
The term and number of candidates for each village is determined by the Constitution of Tokelau.
  • Term: Members are elected for a three-year term.
  • Membership: The Constitution stipulates elected members shall be: the Faipule, Pulenuku and one delegate for every 100 inhabitants based on the last census figures (rounded to the nearest 100). Furthermore, the Constitution encourages the inclusion of women as members.
  • Number of members: In 2016 the Tokelau Census recorded a six per cent (6%) increase of the de jure usually resident population at 1,499. It comprised 541 for Atafu; 506 for Fakaofo and 452 for Nukunonu.
In November 2016, General Fono adopted the Census 2016 final population count for the purpose of conducting the January 2017 Elections. As a result of this decision, each village secured seven (7) representatives. Therefore, the next parliamentary term (2017-2019) for Tokelau’s General Fono will have 21 sitting members.

Ulu o Tokelau
The Ulu o Tokelau is the Chairperson for the six-member Council of the Ongoing Government of Tokelau (referred to as the Council); and therefore the titular head of Tokelau the nation.

The three elected Faipule each take the Ulu-o-Tokelau position for one year. The sequencing of the Ulu o Tokelau follows a rotational schedule that allows each village to take the first place in the rotation in a given term. Previously, until 2011, the Ulu o Tokelau would start in Nukunonu, then to Fakaofo in the 2nd year, and to Atafu in the final year of the 3-year parliamentary term.

The Ulu-o-Tokelau rotation for this term (2017-2019) is as follows: 2017 - Faipule of Nukunonu; 2018 - Faipule of Fakaofo; and 2019 - Faipule of Atafu.

    Fakaofo   Nukunonu   Atafu

Faipule Designate

Afega Gaualofa

Siopili Perez

Kelihiano Kalolo

Pulenuku Designate

Mose Pelasio

Patelesio Petelo (Peter)

Fano Fao

Designate Taupulega Representatives

Tinielu Tuumuli

Taupati Peleni

Ilai Esera

Salesio Lui

Lino Isaia

Alapati Tavite

Iosua Aleni

Seluka Enosa

Mika Kalolo

Designate Fatupaepae Representative

Malia Pue

Lepeka Amato-Perez

Latu Lopa

Designate Taulelea/Aumaga Representative

Alesana Teao

Falaniko Aloisio

Tanu Filo

For more information please contact: Mr Jovilisi Suveinakama, Chief Advisor to the Council.
Email: jovilisi.suveinakama@tokelau.org.nz
Phone: +685 20822/20823