Ardern's father named as new administrator for Tokelau
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has named cop-turned-diplomat 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 Administrator, David Nicolson, in August following Mr Nicholson's veto of the purchase of two helicopters for $US366,000 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 Mr Nicolson's successor, Jonathan Kings, lasted just four months. NBR has a query in with MFAT [UPDATE: an MFAT spokeswoman says "Jonathan Kings was acting in the role and it was only ever a temporary arrangement until a permanent appointment could be made."]
On December 5, Mr Peters announced $35 million in new spending on the NZ-dependent territory: $22.2 million for undersea fibre optics cable to replace sluggish satellite broadband and $15.8 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," Mr Peters says.
“Mr Ardern will also be responsible for overseeing New Zealand’s development assistance to Tokelau which includes major investments in internet connectivity and transport infrastructure.”
“Mr 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,” Mr Peters says.
Mr 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.
MFAT has yet to reply to NBR's request to disclose Mr Ardern's salary for his new position.