12 Oct 2009

King Tamatoa ferry in French Polynesia in doubt

2:32 pm on 12 October 2009

There is uncertainty over whether French Polynesia will get the King Tamatoa fast ferry which has been at the centre of a row that threatens to bring down the government.

The man behind the project, Bill Ravel, has told Tahiti media that the new ferry service to the Leeward Islands will only go ahead next year if a tax exemption is approved.

When the French Polynesian government issued the ferry licence last month, it signalled that no tax concession was envisaged.

The granting of the licence has prompted a group of outer island MPs to go into opposition which has fuelled speculation that the Oscar Temaru-led government is to be challenged with a no confidence motion.

Mr Ravel, who is also the founder of the Sofrana shipping line, says he has no ties to any political party.

He went on to say that while Mr Temaru is accused of not being competent, his critics may be right but added that he is above all less of a thief.