6 Sep 2011

Tahiti opposition to lobby against decolonisation bid at Auckland Forum

3:32 pm on 6 September 2011

A former French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang, is to join the French delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum which is being lobbied by the Tahiti government to reinscribe the territory on the UN decolonisation list.

Mr Tong Sang and his pro-autonnomy colleagues have already written to the incoming Forum chair, the New Zealand prime minister John Key, expressing their dismay at the move by the president, Oscar Temaru.

In a letter, they say he has no mandate to make the re-inscription bid because some of the assembly members approving a resolution on the matter don't have a mandate from the voters.

Mr Tong Sang claims that apart from being illegitimate, the resolution being presented in Auckland may be illegal as a court is yet to rule whether it was adopted properly.

He says small Pacific countries need to be informed to be able to have a view on it.

A number of countries as well as the Pacific Conference of Churches have expressed support for Mr Temaru's bid to end what he calls 170 years of colonisation.

It's understood New Zealand and Australia support the French position, which in the Pacific only approves of New Caledonia's decolonisation.