5 Jun 2008

New Caledonian mayors defend water supply deal

6:25 pm on 5 June 2008

Mayors in New Caledonia have taken issue with a public report critical of the way the water supply has been contracted for the capital Noumea.

The mayor of Noumea, Jean Leques, and leaders from nearby towns say there is no scandal in how the greater Noumea area chose to join forces ten years ago to have a 46 kilometre pipeline built to supply water.

A report by the territory's public accounts office says the mayors gave the contract to the Suez group without first seeking tenders.

But Mr Leques says the French law on tendering doesn't apply in New Caledonia and given the links with the water company, it was a obvious decision to strike a deal with Suez.