TOKELAU OFFICIALS UNCONCERNED ABOUT POPULATION DROP

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‘Small’ decrease won’t impact government plans

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 19, 2011) – The general manager of the Tokelau government says officials are not concerned over the latest census results which show a small drop in the population.

The three inhabited atolls of Tokelau have lost 55 people or nearly four percent of their population in the past five years – Atafu lost eight percent of its people.

In census figures released by Statistics New Zealand and the Tokelau Statistics Unit, the population is given as 1,411 people.

[PIR editor’s note: Slight increases to the population of Fakaofo atoll east of the capital in Nukunonu, along with decreases on the main island and Atafu in the northwest, have affected current census numbers for service planning by government.]

The government’s general manager, Joe Suveinakama, says there will not be any impact on resources or how they are distributed.

"Small increases or decreases don’t really affect the dynamics of how we support, how the government actually supports the people back in the village and how it affects the budget of the country."

Joe Suveinakama says they are confident the population will stabilize and are looking at ways to encourage skilled Tokelauns overseas to come home and support national development.

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