15 Dec 2003

French farmer leader says New Caledonia is tense

12:15 pm on 15 December 2003

A high-profile French farmers' leader, Jose Bove, has described the situation in New Caledonia as tense and warned that a revolt next year is not impossible.

Mr Bove has spent several weeks in the territory at the invitation of the pro-independence USTKE union.

He says he has sensed a growing anger against the state for refusing to keep its word.

Mr Bove says the economic re-balancing in favour of the Kanaks has not happened.

He says prices are driven up with the arrival of many people from mainland France who retire in New Caledonia on an indexed pension.