October 10th, 2007

An odd thing about New Zealand’s (and Australia’s) history is that back when we were still a colony within the British Empire, we had colonies of our own. Colonies of colonies… Anyway, we still have one territory that could be called a colony, Tokelau, and just like last year, they’re having a UN- and NZ-sponsored referendum on their future. Status quo, Niue- or Cook Islands-style self-government in free association with NZ, or full independence. What the hell do you do with full independence, though, when global warming means your entire country is pretty much guaranteed to disappear beneath the waves by the end of the century? Sue America, Europe and Japan for your relocation costs? Or just take up the NZ citizenship you’ve been entitled to since 1949 and move to larger, higher islands? And if you’re taking that second option, why the hell would you vote for independence, anyway? I dunno, up to them, but I don’t envy the Tokelauans their options or the clear future of their incredibly small, low-lying atolls.

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