21 Jan 2011

Talks due on French Polynesia's delayed budget

6:16 am on 21 January 2011

The French Polynesian assembly's finance commission is today expected to tackle the delayed 2011 budget amid disagreement over whether to raise taxes.

The President Gaston Tong Sang delayed yesterday's planned first meeting after it had last been put off by a week.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The opposition pro-independence group says Mr Tong Sang should resign as he keeps failing to find a majority for cuts in public spending that are all but inevitable. Talks withing the pro-autonomy camp have so far failed to find a formula that would bring about a balanced budget that needs to be passed by the end of March. Political aspirations cloud the discussions, with Mr Tong Sang saying that the voters want a budget and are less keen to know who has what portfolio. The opposition has meanwhile revived its demand that an income tax be introduced. If the budget isn't passed in time, the French high commission will automatically take over the territory's financial affairs."