17 Sep 2010

French government says independence in French Polynesia could lead to interference by Tahiti's neigh

8:48 am on 17 September 2010

A French government report on French Polynesia's political instability says independence could lead to interference by Tahiti's neighbours.

The report was prepared for the overseas territory's minister who wants to change Tahiti's electoral system for the third time since early 2007.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The report says a phased independence process should be considered if the planned reforms fail."

But the report's author says outer island politicians and business leaders fear that independence could lead to meddling by the Anglo-Saxon neighbours Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

It says such interference could be felt in the areas of politics, economics and religion.

The report says there is also concern that financial transfers from France could decline.

This has prompted calls in the Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands to secede from Tahiti and to seek a direct attachment to France as achieved by Mayotte in the Indian Ocean.