New Zealand Government angered over Tokelau's purchase of two helicopters

The relationship between New Zealand and Tokelau is on the rocks after the small group of atolls spent millions of dollars on two new helicopters that don't have proper certification.

Kiwi taxpayers give the tiny territory 16 million a year and that's now under threat. Source: 1 NEWS

Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand, gets $16 million in aid each year - 60 per cent of its budget - but has used a financial windfall from fishing revenue to buy what Foreign Minister Murray McCully describes as "extravagances".

Mr McCully says the Government bought Tokelau a new $12 million ferry and an unauthorised air service would undermine the value of what New Zealand taxpayers have done.  

He told 1 NEWS "anyone who has behaved improperly needs to be held to account".

Tokelau, which doesn't have an airport,  had planned to base one helicopter in Samoa as a rescue and medevac service and use the other for domestic transport. 

NZ Helicopter Association Chairman Peter Turnbull says the 500km distance between Tokelau and Samoa would be stretching the limit of the helicopters. There are also safety and maintenance concerns.

The New Zealand Government says it is waiting for a report into how the purchase happened and will now be reflecting on its own budgetary arrangements to Tokelau.