6 Dec 2010

New Caledonian leadership cancels New Zealand visit after Lafleur death

8:08 pm on 6 December 2010

The death of New Caledonia's veteran politician, Jacques Lafleur, has prompted New Caledonian leaders to call off this week's planned official visit to New Zealand.

The president, Philippe Gomes, and the French high commissioner, Albert Dupuy, were to lead a high-powered delegation on a four-day visit from tomorrow following an invitation by the New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully.

In a statement, they say they will jointly notify the New Zealand prime minister, John Key, about the trip's deferral and hope to reschedule it for early next year.

Mr Lafleur, who was the territory's most influential politician of the past three decades, died in Australia last weekend aged 78.