General Fono Discussion on Change Plan highlights Concerns by Taupulegas’

23 March 2015
Tokelau’s top authorisation body in its Governance structure, the Council of Village Elders (Taupulega) brought forth its concerns over the Change Management Plan (CMP) report to the General Fono held on Nukunonu in early February 2015.
The Change Management Plan (CMP) Report proposed various changes to enhancing the service delivered and the governing structure towards a quality life on Tokelau.
Taupulegas’ are supportive of the changes focusing on improving the service delivery, but their main concern is the structural changes to the current governing structure.
Taupulegas’ Concerns:
The structural changes proposed in the report are believed to impinge the culture and traditional institutions. It may have implications to the current governance structure and constitutional significance, which Tokelau have worked hard on since its development. The Taupulegas’ highlighted that changes proposed should have been recommended by a group internally, and not by outsiders. The Taupulega also expressed its disagreement at the report’s proposal to remove authority over the workforce, during its discussions at the General Fono. There were also concerns surrounding the proposal in the report to have all responsibilities centralised.
Statement by the Kau Hauatea:
Statement from the Kau Hauatea encouraged the General Fono that any change should be owned by our communities to improve the house of Tokelau. The statement highlighted that the communities are concerned about any changes from outside, and suggest taking ownership of the relevant changes that Tokelau is comfortable with.
Supported by Tokelau’s constitutional partners, New Zealand
Government of New Zealand through the Administrator of Tokelau, Jonathan Kings, have supported the concerns of the Taupulega, and agreed that the structural changes should wait until Tokelau is ready.
Government of New Zealand is adamant that the plan must be Tokelau. He has highlighted the report provides an opportunity on a platform where Tokelau can stand together. He has highlighted that the challenges for both Governments, New Zealand and Tokelau, is changing the recommendation from the CMP report to a suitable quality of life plan for Tokelau. New Zealand has also stressed the importance of prioritisation in what is essential in bringing a quality of life to the villages with a practical and minimal disruption in carrying the authority of ‘pule’ (power) for Tokelau. He further stated that there will be no more move towards decolonisation following two referendums in 2006 and 2007. The Administrator has also acknowledged some changes which have already been put in place, like the Education Review.
The issue has been reverted back to each Taupulega for further discussions. Each Taupulega will report back with their views on the way forward to the Office of the Council for the Ongoing Government in two months. The current Ulu o Tokelau, Siopili Perez is leading the work on the matter.