6 Oct 2004

French Polynesian leader proposes big airport on Tubuai

4:16 pm on 6 October 2004

The French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, has proposed building an international airport on Tubuai island in the territory's south.

Mr Temaru made the comment in an interview after spending the weekend on Tubuai saying such a plan would be part of efforts to develop the French Polynesian economy.

He says the Austral islands in the south and the Marquesas in the north need to be freed up - a reference to their dependence on transport links to Tahiti.

Mr Temaru says the Austral islands, which are further south than the Cook Islands, should develop closer links with Auckland and for example seek to export taro.

He says Air Tahiti Nui flights currently pass Tubuai on the way to New Zealand.