10 Jul 2003

French Polynesian leader says "overseas country" law is a deception

4:08 pm on 10 July 2003

A pro-independence leader in French Polynesia has criticised a law package granting the territory greater autonomy saying it will only strengthen France's hold on the territory.

Oscar Temaru says the law package, which makes the territory a so called overseas country and allows partial transfer of authority from Paris to Tahiti, is deceiving.

The package was earlier approved by the ruling majority in French Polynesia's assembly but was boycotted by the pro-independence opposition.

Mr Temaru says the territorial President Gaston Flosse told the assembly that the laws governing the territory's new status must be in line with French laws.

"there is nothing new in this new study of internal autonomy for the country. All the main power still remains in the hands of the French government. Our country should be called French occupied... they are trying to get the support of the pro independence movement"

Oscar Temaru - pro-indepedence leader in French Polynesia.