NZ PM Ardern's father named as new administrator for Tokelau

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has named Ross Ardern — father of prime minister Jacinda Ardern — as the next Administrator of Tokelau.

He will carry out the role from Auckland.

Tokelau's government requested the removal of the former Administator, David Nicolson, in August following Nicholson's veto of the purchase of two helicopters for US$366,000 and the suspension of two government ministers. The release of New Zealand's funding to Tokelau was also changed from annual to monthly tranches.

It was not immediately apparent why Nicolson's successor, Jonathan Kings, last just four months. NBR has a query in with MFAT.

On 05 December, Peters announced $35 million (US$24.4 million) in new spending on the NZ-dependent territory: $22.2 million (US$15.5 million) for undersea fibre optics cable to replace sluggish statellite broadband and $15.8 million (US$11 million) for a wharf upgrade.

“The Administrator’s role is to ensure that public services of an appropriate standard are delivered to the New Zealand citizens living in Tokelau and helping manage the relationship between our two countries," Peters says.

“Ardern will also be responsible for overseeing New Zealand’s development assistance to Tokelau which includes major investments in internet connectivity and transport infrastructure.”

“Ardern’s experience as a High Commissioner, his extensive understanding of the Pacific, and distinguished career with New Zealand Police make him an ideal candidate for this role and I have no doubt he will make a major contribution to the relationship between New Zealand and Tokelau,” Peters says.

Ardern is currently New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Niue and has previously served as Niue’s Police Commissioner and as New Zealand’s Police Liaison Officer for the Pacific based in Samoa. He is expected to take up the role of Administrator of the NZ-dependent state of Tokelau in early 2018.

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