20 Jan 2011

New delay in French Polynesia budget process

2:29 pm on 20 January 2011

The French Polynesian assembly's finance commission has again deferred its first meeting to discuss the 2011 budget as the territory is at risk of losing its powers to run the finances to the French High Commission.

A budget has to be adopted by the end of March but the latest meeting setting out the document's parameters has been put off until tomorrow after it was already deferred last week.

The decision was made by the president, Gaston Tong Sang, who has the guaranteed support of only about a quarter of the assembly.

Fellow pro-autonomy politicians have so far refused to supporrt any tax increase to balance the budget.

The pro-independence opposition has meanwhile revived its demand that an income tax be introduced.

At the beginning of last week, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, warned that if the territory ended up in a shambles, Paris would have no scruples to intervene.