Another 35% wanted free association with Australia, while 25% wanted complete independence. Only 3% wanted full integration with Australia, which some autonomy activists fear is the direction the government is taking it in.
The survey garnered 457 votes (about one-quarter of the island’s population), according to Candice Nobbs. She is a member of the management committee of the group Norfolk Island People for Democracy, which organized the survey.
The group launched the poll on their website to show that there were a lot of people who were unhappy with how the island was currently governed, Nobbs said.
Convict buildings from the 1820’s at Kingston, Norfolk Island.
But while some people welcomed the additional services, others felt that they were losing their independence.
Nobbs said the problem with Australia’s approach was that it amounted to “taking us over” as they had shown a “lack of respect” towards the culture of Norfolk Island — including the island’s different approach to land rights.
Norfolk is around 500 miles from the northern tip of New Zealand, compared to almost 900 miles (1,440 km) from the Australian east coast, and Nobbs said Wellington had a history of working well with other South Pacific island nations.
She pointed to Niue, which is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand.
While Nobbs thought that independence was unrealistic for Norfolk Island, she could see why people voted for that. Many people thought “you know what, let’s try and fend for ourselves,” she said.
CNN has reached out to Norfolk Island’s mayor for comment.